Tuesday 21 November 2023

North Korea to try a third time to launch its Chollima-1 rocket and Malligyong-1 satellite coming days [UPDATED]

click map to enlarge

UPDATE 21 Nov 2023:  

North Korea launched the satellite on 21 Nov 13:42 GMT (1h 18m before opening of the window from the Navigational Warnings!) and claims the launch was successful.

A Navigational Warning, HYDROPAC 3667/23, has appeared today that suggests that North Korea will do a third attempt to launch their new military reconnaisance satellite Malligyong-1 on their new Chollima-1 space launch vehicle the coming days, perhaps as early as to morrow 21 November.

They tried twice before: on May 31 (see this blogpost) and on August 23 (see this blogpost). During the first attempt on May 31 the second stage failed; during the second attempt on August 23, the third stage self-destructed. Maybe they will get it right this time.

The launch window runs from November 21 15:00 UTC to November 30 15:00 UTC, based on the Navigational Warning.

The locations of the three hazard areas from the Navigational Warning are similar to those for the May and August launch attempts: Areas A and B (fairings and first stage splashdown) are southwest of Sohae in the direction towards China and Taiwan, and Area C, the second stage splash-down area, is east of the Philippines. See the map above. 

As discussed before in the context of the May launch, the location of Area C suggests that a dog-leg by the second stage is involved: either before third stage release, or after.

This is the text of the Navigational Warning:

201932Z NOV 23
HYDROPAC 3667/23(91,92,94).
DNC 11, DNC 23.
   211500Z TO 301500Z NOV IN AREAS BOUND BY:
   A. 36-02.44N 123-59.18E, 36-06.94N 123-33.11E,
      35-24.52N 123-22.78E, 35-20.02N 123-48.62E.
   B. 33-58.97N 123-40.07E, 34-05.90N 123-01.99E,
      33-23.47N 122-51.88E, 33-16.54N 123-29.66E.
   C. 15-01.70N 129-24.05E, 14-54.17N 128-40.10E,
      11-19.30N 129-10.84E, 11-26.81N 129-54.13E.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 301600Z NOV 23.

During the previous two launches, Japan and South Korea acted ridiculously panicky, sounding sirens and telling civilians to take shelter. This is however a pre-announced space launch, not an unannounced ballistic missile launch, on a trajectory that avoids flying over significant pieces of land surface. Sounding sirens and telling people  to take shelter, is an over-reaction. Hopefully they will act less panicky this time, as this kind of panic serves no purpose.

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