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The Military

North Korea's Satellite Tumbling In Orbit 257

schwit1 writes: U.S. Defense officials stated Tuesday that the satellite that North Korea launched on Sunday is now tumbling in orbit and is useless. Do not take comfort from this failure. North Korea has demonstrated that it can put payloads in orbit. From this achievement it is a very short leap to aiming those payloads to impact any continent on Earth. They might not be able to aim that impact very accurately, but if you want to ignite an atomic bomb somewhere, you don't have to be very accurate.
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North Korea's Satellite Tumbling In Orbit

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  • Let's get real (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vtcodger ( 957785 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:15AM (#51477939)

    Now and for decades to come, North Korea would be very unlikely to use an ICBM/IRBM to launch a nuclear bomb. The missile might not work and neither might the payload after being subjected to the stresses of lift-off and re-entry. Assuming they wanted to blow up Washington, DC, I should think that they would simply smuggle the warhead into the US using the same routes used by smugglers to import carload lots of Cannabis then deliver it using an elderly Toyota purchased on credit . (Be a bit difficult to repossess THAT one when the payments stop).

    • Re:Let's get real (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:20AM (#51477965)

      I don't think N. Korea can miniaturize their bombs to that degree. It's probably about 10 tons and bomb-looking as hell. A ground burst also limits the damage. The slow nature of deploying it would make it offensive only - if they were attacked it would be too late to use it. They need the opposite, something that could be launched within a few hours in response to an attack. Something that would sting just enough to make the US decide not to invade.

      Actual use would mean suicide, so it's not meant to be used.

      • Re:Let's get real (Score:4, Informative)

        by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:40AM (#51478085)

        I don't think N. Korea can miniaturize their bombs to that degree. It's probably about 10 tons and bomb-looking as hell.

        If that's so, it seems to support GP's point. 10 tons is greater than the throw weight of the largest ICBM in history (8800 kg). The Taepodong-2 vehicle's payload capacity at maximum range (which would only reach the western US, btw) is estimated to be 500 kg or less.

        If they want to launch it at us, they've pretty much got to get it small enough to fit in a car.

        Disclaimer: this is not my field. I'm probably missing a lot of things.

        • If they want to launch it at us, they've pretty much got to get it small enough to fit in a car.

          That's an excellent point. But my comment about the timeliness of launch still stands. An eventual car bomb attack that may or may not work is a lot less of a deterrent than a couple of dozen ICBMs.

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          If they want to launch it at us, they've pretty much got to get it small enough to fit in a car.

          Not that it really matters anyway -- the NPRK would only launch a nuclear first strike as a form of ritual suicide. MAD still applies, even to nasty little third-world dictatorships, and launching a single nuclear missile (or even a few of them) makes no sense strategically; in a nuclear war you need to knock out your opponent's nuclear response capability or they're going to respond by nuking you to ashes in short order.

          If North Korea did decide to nuke someone, they'd be much better served to smuggle the

          • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

            If they want to launch it at us, they've pretty much got to get it small enough to fit in a car.

            Not that it really matters anyway -- the NPRK would only launch a nuclear first strike as a form of ritual suicide. MAD still applies, even to nasty little third-world dictatorships, and launching a single nuclear missile (or even a few of them) makes no sense strategically; in a nuclear war you need to knock out your opponent's nuclear response capability or they're going to respond by nuking you to ashes in short order.

            If North Korea did decide to nuke someone, they'd be much better served to smuggle the nuke aboard a ship and detonate it in a harbor somewhere; at least then they'd have some fig leaf of plausible deniability.

            Yeah, not so much. Not that the Norks wouldn't try that dodge, but fingerprinting nuclear weapons is a thing. Within hours of it's use, we'll know whose it was, or at least who built it.

        • The Taepodong-2 was not an ICBM. It's the space launch vehicle and Taepodong-1 was an earlier, clearly failed attempt. I believe someone made the Taepodong names up, and a decade or more ago we all assumed these were long range missiles rather than something to launch a satellite from.

          True the line between space launch and ICBM seems really thin but this is really a rocket that needs weeks of launch preparation, can be fired from a single place and would only be usable as a really weak single shot, suicide

      • I know next to nothing about nuclear or thermonuclear warheads other than that a modern thermonuclear warhead is pretty damn small. But I suspect that downsizing a bomb once you have one that works probably is not that big a deal. e.g. the US exploded its first nuclear weapon in July 1945. By 1953 the US was deploying a nuclear artillery system. I think it unlikely that the warhead for that was more than a few hundred kg. But what do I know?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by s.petry ( 762400 )

          I know next to nothing about nuclear or thermonuclear warheads other than that a modern thermonuclear warhead is pretty damn small. But I suspect that downsizing a bomb once you have one that works probably is not that big a deal. e.g. the US exploded its first nuclear weapon in July 1945. By 1953 the US was deploying a nuclear artillery system. I think it unlikely that the warhead for that was more than a few hundred kg. But what do I know?

          That first sentence is honest, and ignorance is easily cured. "Modern" warheads owned by the US are not the same as "Modern" warheads owned by any other nation, especially the DPRK. The US spends, and has spent, massive amounts of money over a massive amount of time developing a nuclear weapons program.

          Nuclear "artillery" is costly beyond belief, extremely limited in usability, only effective if there are other larger backers. It is the ultimate weapon of last resort when defending, but has almost zero u

          • > Nuclear "artillery" is costly beyond belief, extremely limited in usability,

            I didn't say that nuclear artillery is a good idea. (In fact it strikes me as anything but ... "You expect me to do what? Screw that, I'm going to go find an enemy and surrender") But I don't see how the artillery round can weigh much more than a few hundred kg and the system still be mobile. ie. within limits, shrinking a nuclear warhead once you have one that works probably is not anywhere near as difficult as building on

            • by s.petry ( 762400 )
              My point was to correct the possible perception you or anyone else has about "tiny" nukes being something the DPRK has, or would be able to use in any offensive capability. Your casual use of the technology has the potential of inflate the fear mongering, especially next statements about "nuclear or thermonuclear warheads" and lack of mention of "cost" for any of those things. The 3rd world economy of the DPRK, and tyrannical government, mean that they do not have the budge or manpower for any meaningful
              • Re:Let's get real (Score:4, Insightful)

                by BCGlorfindel ( 256775 ) <(ac.unodnarb) (ta) (knessalk)> on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @03:31PM (#51481137) Journal

                My point was to correct the possible perception you or anyone else has about "tiny" nukes being something the DPRK has, or would be able to use in any offensive capability. Your casual use of the technology has the potential of inflate the fear mongering, especially next statements about "nuclear or thermonuclear warheads" and lack of mention of "cost" for any of those things. The 3rd world economy of the DPRK, and tyrannical government, mean that they do not have the budge or manpower for any meaningful development of WMDs like nukes.

                In your eagerness to stop the fear mongering you badly understate North Korea's capability. Sure, they can barely feed their people. 20 years ago guys like you declared the same things, that the North's economy and tyranny made scientific accomplishments like nukes and rockets impossible. Since then they've detonated nukes(plural) and launched satellites(plural again). I'm not sure where you've set the bar for 'meaningful' but the North has made succeeded in building nuclear weapons and launching rockets around the world. Refining and improving that is well within their ability, they just need the time. I can only interpret your level of meaningful to mean that they can't reasonably develop a large enough arsenal to match existing nuclear powers. Given how brutal, cruel and tyrannical the Godkings inheriting North Korea are, that's small comfort.

                The reality is that if Seoul wasn't housing 10million people within range of North Korean artillery, NATO probably would have removed the Kim dynasty generations ago. All the hand wringing is watching a very nasty family growing more and more powerful while we fear the cost of their removal too much to contemplate it.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I think in terms of total probability, the US is more likely to launch a nuclear strike on DPRK than it is to invade and fight a ground war there.

        DPRK is armed to the teeth with conventional weapons and has had 60 years to dig in deep, making a conventional ground assault extremely painful. Not that the US couldn't *win* such a fight should it choose to dedicate the resources, but it would be extremely resource and manpower intensive.

        And for what possible gain? No appreciable natural resources, a civilian

        • North Korea is more rational than most people tend to believe, but not rational to the level that, say, Iran is (and they're far more rational than people tend to believe). They do believe the world is out to get them, but they also know enough not to pull the trigger themselves unless there's no other choice--though that may include taking the nation down with them if someone tries a coup.

          Absent an enlightened successor to Kim Jong-Un in about 30 years, any shift in that impoverished country is likely to

          • North Korea is more rational than most people tend to believe, but not rational to the level that, say, Iran is (and they're far more rational than people tend to believe). They do believe the world is out to get them, but they also know enough not to pull the trigger themselves unless there's no other choice--though that may include taking the nation down with them if someone tries a coup.

            Absent an enlightened successor to Kim Jong-Un in about 30 years, any shift in that impoverished country is likely to be bloody, violent, and involve a lot of carnage outside its borders.

            Where I'm not inclined to disagree much... It's obvious that an overthrow of the Kim dynasty will be bloody, I'm inclined to believe that if it happens it will be quick and the violence will be fairly localized and unlikely to flow over the border that much. What WILL be an issue is if the conflict lasts very long and the population starts flooding over the borders as refugees, mostly into China.

            The question that should be going through everybody's minds though should be what will trigger such events...

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          They want an ICBM for the same reason that the US and all other nuclear ICBM equipped powers do: Mutually Assured Destruction.

          Okay, in their case they couldn't destroy the US, but the threat of possibly having a major city destroyed is probably enough to prevent a US president from risking an attack.

          They are a long way from that point though. They don't have solid fuel rockets, so they can't keep weapons in a state of readiness for very long. Still, the weapon doesn't need to be 100% reliable or practical,

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Did you forget the Tim drove up a truck with a huge bomb-looking bomb in the back and parked it in the loading zone of a federal building and nobody noticed? It wouldn't be hard to put it in the smallest truck that'd hold it, and drive the 10 ton bomb that looks like a bomb down 15th St NW, or Constitution Ave and detonate it within sight of the White House and Congress. Sure, it wouldn't leave all of DC a crater, but it would make a point, and probably take out the President and Congress (if done without
    • Now and for decades to come, North Korea would be very unlikely to use an ICBM/IRBM to launch a nuclear bomb.

      Well, not unless they've invented a Golfball of Doom. The throw weight on an Unha is pretty pathetic, and in any case it's not suitable in its current config as an ICBM.

    • by c ( 8461 )

      Now and for decades to come, North Korea would be very unlikely to use an ICBM/IRBM to launch a nuclear bomb.

      North Korea has demonstrated that it can launch garbage into orbit. If it used that capability strategically it could make a real mess of things up there.

    • by clifwlkr ( 614327 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @10:28AM (#51478379)
      I really, really doubt the leaders actually think it is worth dropping a single missile or two on the US, and expect that there would not be massive retaliation literally destroying their country. The US would not sit back after any kind of attack and reconsider, it would be full speed ahead.

      Instead, what they want is the threat that they could let loose with several missiles if we were to invade them, and it would be difficult to stop them once in the air. That scares the US populace, and makes them think twice about coming and attacking them on the first place. That is why they make such a big show of it all, to make sure we know they have a weapon they could use against us. That, after all, is really the whole premise of nuclear weapons at this point.
      • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @11:37AM (#51478903)

        massive retaliation literally destroying their country

        I assume you don't actually know where NK is. Look on a map. Bejing is less than 500miles away. NK shares a border with China. Japan is very close, too. There is no possibility that China would allow the USA to nuke one of its neighbours - not with the possibility of fallout spreading across the region.

        Luckily, your fears are completely unfounded. NK doesn't give a flying *** about the USA. It is more concerned with South Korea and if it was to use a nuke, they already have a target painted large as Seoul is only 30 miles from the NK border - easily reachable by truck in less than an hour. That is their hostage, should anyone attack them. What is far more likely is that they are developing the technology to sell. The launches are just advertising for their capabilities and the people you should be worried about are the ones who hate you and have lots of money. Sadly, that list is quite long: just look at all the countries you've bombed back to the stone age in the past few decades.

        • by Boronx ( 228853 )

          Would let us? There's no "let". If China doesn't want us nuking North Korea, they have to make sure North Korea doesn't drop a nuke on us.

          • by Dins ( 2538550 )

            Wish I had mod points.

            If NK attacked the US with nuclear weapons, there is nothing that would stop us from responding in kind. If whomever was President at the time didn't have the balls to counter attack, they'd likely be impeached until someone who would was in office.

            You can argue whether or not we SHOULD respond by obliterating NK, but if the continental US was nuked the US would be out for blood and nobody else in the world could stop us.

        • not with the possibility of fallout spreading across the region

          This isn't a real concern; Beijing's pollution already blows eastward over the Koreas and the Pacific to end up in California, not the other way around.

        • Luckily, your fears are completely unfounded. NK doesn't give a flying *** about the USA. It is more concerned with South Korea and if it was to use a nuke, they already have a target painted large as Seoul is only 30 miles from the NK border - easily reachable by truck in less than an hour. That is their hostage, should anyone attack them.

          NK's entire educational indoctrination program is based on hatred of the U.S [youtube.com]. You know how one of the best ways to unite a people is to confront them with an outside e

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      They shouldn't launch it at DC. They should launch it at South Africa with a trajectory over the US, then detonate it over Kansas. The EMP will cover the entire contiguous states. That'll do more damage than a nuke hitting DC, and no aim is involved. Off by 100 miles would still be a direct hit, unlike DC.

      And the US defense system has no protection from a low-orbit-ish ICBM passing over the US. And no plans for anything that would protect against it.
      • Man, so people in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska wouldn't be able to use electronic devices? Would anyone notice?

    • NK can send a storm of artillery rounds to seoul.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:20AM (#51477967)

    it is a very short leap to aiming those payloads to impact any continent on Earth

    Almost 60 years ago, americans were scared of the USSR for exactly the same reasons. Same fears, different country. Nothing changes.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Yep, it is totally beyond the pale for the Norks to slip Daesh a nuke and claim Daesh stole it from the Russkies. That would never happen in your bunny world.

      • by IMightB ( 533307 )

        Even if they did manage to do that, the entirety of N Korea would be quickly turned into a hot glass mess. For as much bluster and bullshit they turn out, even they know that they could not survive a nuclear war with the US.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        And why exactly would Kim who fancies himself a god want to provide Daesh whose cause is to create an Islamic state with assistance in the form of a nuclear weapon?

        I don't see many upsides for Kim or the DPRK in doing so. Everyone likes to paint Kim as a mad man. It might be true he does not always display what we consider to be sound judgement. Still he is self interested enough to hand a group that would turn on him as fast as he can blink a real actual WMD ( as opposed to the nasty but hardly massivel

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        The only thing missing in your conspiracy theory is postulating a link between North Korea and the Feminization of Western Society.

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      it is a very short leap to aiming those payloads to impact any continent on Earth

      Almost 60 years ago, americans were scared of the USSR for exactly the same reasons. Same fears, different country. Nothing changes.

      Yep. And unlike during the cold war, these North Korea fears are almost entirely without basis. North Korea does some odd things, but they aren't stupid or suicidal. A US invasion is a serious and genuine concern for them. They know they would be utterly devastated in any serious conflict. That's exactly why they are working on atomic bombs- to make any conflict so bad that the western powers will not attack them.

      It's funny how we remember the events of history but forget the reasons why. Most nu

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Really? Is the story writer a nuclear arms specialist or is this movie-knowledge?

    • I'm going with movie-knowledge. A nuke blast is only large compared to conventional weapons. Anything more than a few miles away from the blast will be virtually unscathed, and even much closer to the blast you're mainly talking broken windows and a bit of radiation damage. And hitting a relatively small and valuable target like a city requires precision aiming.

      The only really credible threat from a poorly aimed nuke is a high-altitude blast, which would knock out radio communications and spread the fall

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        There is no real fallout from a high altitude blast. The most damage DPRK could do would be to launch it on an ICBM at South Africa over the US, and detonate it as it's over Kansas.

        Second in damage may be a truck-based ground blast in DC, between the White House and Congress. Should be able to take out both, they are under 2 miles apart. And the damage wouldn't even be much beyond that, leaving DC largely intact, aside from the fallout from a ground blast.
    • by Etcetera ( 14711 )

      Actually, for the US, you don't even have to hit anything.

      A single nuclear explosion on the ground that hits an area of moderate importance would have tremendous geopolitical implications (to say the least), combined with probably a trillion dollar shock to the economy.

      Three nuclear explosions somewhere 100 mi above the central US and West and East coasts would cause an EMP-triggered cascading failure of most consumer electrical devices for good, and most parts of the power infrastructure for months... if n

    • A nuke hitting somewhere in your country at more-or-less random is still a nuke hitting your country.

      Sure, you might luck out and have it land somewhere completely uninhabited. But then again, you might not. And you still have radiation and fallout issues.

      Not to mention the whole 'now we either MUST nuke them back, potentially kicking off a war with China, or admit that deterrence is a huge bluff, and watch everybody rush the tech tree to nukes.'

  • I don't really see the benefit of them having ICBM capabilities. At the moment, for people in the USA and Europe, NK is just an annoying abstract threat. Nobody wants to go start anything there because they could probably take out Seoul and parts of Japan quite easily, so it is better to just monitor the situation and leave them alone. It would seem that they are getting some support from China as well, so doing something preemptive could end up getting messy very fast.

    But if they get long range missile cap

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:45AM (#51478131)

      At the moment, for people in the USA and Europe, NK is just an annoying abstract threat. Nobody wants to go start anything there because they could probably take out Seoul and parts of Japan quite easily, so it is better to just monitor the situation and leave them alone.

      The main reason they get left alone is because of China. China protects NK even when they get completely out of pocket for reasons that are only vaguely comprehensible to us. Honestly if China wasn't involved I think NK would have been curb stomped by either the US or one of their neighbors some time ago. China props up the NK regime apparently primarily because they don't want to deal with the humanitarian crisis that would follow if the regime toppled. They also apparently don't want a unified and modern Korea with a border on China for strategic reasons.

      Having said that, the guy sounds like a complete crackpot, so maybe he is just bored.

      North Korea is on their third generation of crackpot absolute dictator. Hell, technically the Korean War never actually ended. There was an armistice but never an actual peace treaty.

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        China protects NK even when they get completely out of pocket for reasons that are only vaguely comprehensible to us.

        China prefers North Korea on its border like the United States preferred a corrupt fascist like Batista on Cuba. NK may be bastards, but they are China's bastards.

      • The main reason they get left alone is because of China. China protects NK even when they get completely out of pocket for reasons that are only vaguely comprehensible to us. Honestly if China wasn't involved I think NK would have been curb stomped by either the US or one of their neighbors some time ago.

        It's very comprehensible to us. It's that any post-regime verison of North Korea is pretty much worse for China than the current situation, even if they don't like how things are currently. If NK goes to SK, then they have somebody outside of their control on their border with the US right there also. Even if it goes with China, NK, is generally worse off than China and they don't want to be saddled with that loadstone, and once again, SK and the USA are on their borders. Their only real option is to stick

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        China doesn't like DPRK. China would be happy if, tomorrow DPRK was destroyed. China doesn't want DPRK hurt. China shares an unprotected land border with them. And China doesn't want millions of refugees wandering over. That's about the only thing that China cares about. If the US offered to secure the border, and ship every refugee to South Korea, China would probably agree to any military attack of DPRK that the US would dream up. The conventional destruction of Seoul from DPRK is the MAD that keeps
  • Re-entry aiming is actually quite difficult. Statistically they are more likely to land in the ocean or somewhere in the middle of Kansas than they are to hit DC. If they nuked the middle of the ocean it would be an interesting day. We likely wouldn't nuke them back (though we could I guess), We likely would just invade.

    • by Scutter ( 18425 )

      That's one of the classic blunders. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

      • That's one of the classic blunders. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

        Or get into a battle of wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line... Yea, we know...

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      It depends on how bad they are. The world's first ICBM had a high, 5km CEP. But still, plot a 5km circle on any major city, you're still going to hit a densely populated area.

      That said, it's quite true that NK's nuclear weapons are (comparatively) quite weak, and (probably) heavy.

      • They weren't launched from an object spinning out of control. This thing is going to have a CEP of about 20,000 km.

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          One obviously doesn't count failed launches toward CEPs. Anything involving "spinning out of control" is as failure, as far as deployment goes.

    • unless you don't need to re-enter or hit a specific target. let's say you just want to get something high over the continental US and detonate it.

      something that creates a nice EMP.

      • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

        unless you don't need to re-enter or hit a specific target. let's say you just want to get something high over the continental US and detonate it.

        something that creates a nice EMP.

        They have a ways to go before they can create an EMP-capable nuclear weapon.

        And, EMP threat is not what fiction tells you it is.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          DPRK claims a functional H-bomb. That's sufficient for an EMP. Sized correctly, an ICBM carried nuclear warhead can make an EMP large enough to cover the contiguous US. Yes, it won't fry all electronics in the blast radius for all time, but it'll do enough damage to kill more than if they had targeted a city.
    • Why bother with re-entry at all. Just pop it off as an exo-atmospheric detonation and let the EMP do its damage.
      • Because, to get the best affect for that EMP you are trying for, you really need to be well within the atmosphere, or so I'm told...You also need to get a pretty good nuclear explosion which I understand NK hasn't really mastered, nor do they have the ability to produce nuclear weapons small enough to get them off the ground in any rocket...

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      We'd never invade DPRK. They are basically a giant warehouse of every infantry weapon system ever developed by the Russians or Chinese. It would be a monumental effort to invade them with infantry, even after a conventional bombing campaign of months.

      I would wager a nuclear reprisal by the US is more likely following even a flawed launch that dropped a nuke into the ocean. The Republican congress would declare war and impeach the President the same day if he wouldn't sign onto it. Given our current leve

      • I think it really depends upon how willing they are to fight back. Put South Koreans on the front line promising re-unification, and we likely could roll right through with very little bloodshed. The true cost will be the humanitarian aide after the current government fails. //I certainly wouldn't be willing to bet on this outcome, but its not out of the realm of probability.

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:38AM (#51478071)

    for nuclear weapons with than ten kilotons yield of course extreme accuracy is needed if targeting something a third the world a way, what a stupid thing to write. Do you get your ideas about a nuclear weapon can do from entertainment media?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nicoleb_x ( 1571029 )

      Absolutely right, with humans only populating about 1% of the surface of the earth accuracy is not to be ignored.

      The recent meteorite that exploded above Chelyabinsk is estimated to be a 500 kiloton equivalent and that didn't bring the region to its knees.

  • CNN lol (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:44AM (#51478119)

    CNN is always behind....get a better source
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-satellite-orbit-idUSKCN0VI1XN

    North Korea's recently launched satellite has achieved stable orbit but is not believed to have transmitted data back to Earth, U.S. sources said of a launch that has so far failed to convince experts that Pyongyang has significantly advanced its rocket technology.

    Sunday's launch of what North Korea said was an earth observation satellite angered the country's neighbors and the United States, which called it a missile test. It followed Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January.

    "It's in a stable orbit now. They got the tumbling under control," a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

    • Ugh, I had to go this far down in comments to find someone who knew this information is over 12 hours out of date? And of course, it's presently only got a score of 1. I'm not just using selective memory to long for the Good-old-days. The user base of /. used to be way better than this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:45AM (#51478125)

    Reuters is reporting that the tumbling has stopped.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-satellite-orbit-idUSKCN0VI1XN

    • And now the Pentagon is saying it's tumbling again [cbsnews.com].

      Tumbling refers to a very specific behavior in rotational dynamics. A body is only stable in rotation when it rotates around its minimum or maximum moments of inertia (inertia is a 3x3 matrix, not a single number of even a vector like they teach you in high school). When a body tries to spin around any other axis, it ends up gyrating wildly [youtube.com]. What's happening is the spin axis is trying to align with a stable spin axis, but overshoots and passes right t
  • >> North Korea has demonstrated that it can put payloads in orbit. From this achievement it is a very short leap to aiming those payloads to impact any continent on Earth

    You forgot to add, "as anyone who's played Civ will know."

  • No Longer Tumbling (Score:5, Informative)

    by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @10:24AM (#51478361)
    According to multiple sources, the satellite is no longer tumbling [reuters.com].
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      According to multiple sources, the satellite is no longer tumbling.

      NK simply switched it from neener-neener mode to mooning mode.

    • According to multiple sources, the satellite is no longer tumbling.

      Interestingly, this was reported in news almost a day before the Slashdot story was posted, I assume Timmy doesn't read the news nor, you know, verify the up-to-date accuracy of "current events"...

  • 58 years ago, people were saying the same scary things about Sputnik. Should we start teaching our kids to duck and cover? Or, maybe, keep up the deterrence approach that ended the Cold War? You bomb us, we bomb you, we're hurt but you cease to exist. No two-bit dictator is that crazy.
    • You bomb us, we bomb you, we're hurt but you cease to exist. No two-bit dictator is that crazy.

      What you really mean is that you *hope* no two-bit dictator is crazy enough to think we will not retaliate and that you hope there is someone that is believably willing to retaliate. Good luck with that.

  • If we take this claim together with the claim that the satellite passed over Levi's Stadium just after the Super Bowl ended, the North Koreans are close to accomplishing Rudy Giuliani's goal of nuking Beyonce.
  • They might not be able to aim that impact very accurately

    In orbital mechanics 'not very accurate', means 'possibly the sun, maybe the ocean, otherwise some sort of land...assuming it does not burn up in entry'.

    Do not take comfort from this failure. North Korea has demonstrated that it can put payloads in orbit

    I like it when you don't just bring me the news, but also tell me how to feel about it. I'd appreciate it if you could also provide me with the appropriate emotional cue for Trump's victory, because I have no idea how to feel about that.

    From this achievement it is a very short leap to aiming those payloads to impact any continent on Earth.

    'Any' continent is right. Hey guess what: I just put a hand grenade in a rubber raft and set it adrift in the Pacific Ocea

    • I like it when you don't just bring me the news, but also tell me how to feel about it.

      Came only to make the same comment. Slashdot is trying to go mainstream.

  • Have they done re-entry? That was a major stumbling block for the US and Soviet ICBM programmes in the mid 50's. Especially as re-entry needs to be accurate. Unlike the idiotic summary, accuracy is vitally important. A five mile error that results in the obliteration of some countryside and suburbs, rather than a city centre is an outcome no lunatic dictator wants.

    And can they make their physics package, re-entry system, and guidance system light enough for their booster to lift. That was something the
  • Assuming Noth Korea turns this into an ICBM, they still don't have a nuclear payload for it. All of their nuclear test pieces are way too heavy.
  • "...ignite an atomic bomb..."

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • Home front: Future History the controversial trailer which was originally edited and showed as "breaking news" on YouTube that caused a lot of complaints.

    But in 2011 they did predict the future. The story was written by famed author John Milius, who also wrote Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn, first 2 Dirty Harry movies...

    https://youtu.be/MQeQWWKKvq4 [youtu.be]

    The atom bomb test to the satellite launch.

    Now we wait for the EMP

"Mr. Spock succumbs to a powerful mating urge and nearly kills Captain Kirk." -- TV Guide, describing the Star Trek episode _Amok_Time_

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