This morning, North Korea announced that it had successfully launched an Unha-3 rocket carrying a small satellite into orbit. Claims of success are nothing new for the regime, but this time, NORAD (the US-Canadian defence radar network) confirmed that the nation had succeeded in placing a small object into orbit.
The launch is the fourth attempt since 1998 by the North Koreans to place a satellite into orbit. The latest tracking data show it in roughly the right place, along with two other small objects. An amateur astronomer in Australia seems to have caught the first faint image of the satellite streaking across the sky.
The United States is describing the act as “highly provocative“, and Japan has called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council. And this may not be the end of North Korean trouble-making — South Korean intelligence indicates that their neighbours may be preparing another nuclear test for early 2013.