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North Korea's bunk satellite could float out of control for years

North Koreans applaud near a slogan which reads “(we) fervently celebrate the successful launch of the second version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite 2nd version" during a mass rally in Pyongyang.

North Koreans applaud near a slogan which reads “(we) fervently celebrate the successful launch of the second version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite 2nd version" during a mass rally in Pyongyang. // Jon Chol Jin/AP

It is now safe to call the North Korean satellite "space junk." The rogue country's successful launch last week of a "space object" quickly tumbled out of control and, well, it's spiraling somewhere over your head right now — and it might not stop floating around up there for the next several years. "It’s spinning or tumbling, and we haven't picked up any transmissions," Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer who tracks rocket launchings and space activity, tells The New York Times. And that's good news for everyone who's not drinking Kim Jong-Un's Kool-Aid. 

This satellite is something of a bellwether for North Korean military and space technology. Success for North Koreans and anything they do technologically is bad news for the international community and a sign they might be on their way to scarier things than futile space junk, eventually. "This launch is about a weapons program, not peaceful use of space," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had said at the time of the launch. Ergo, if you're not a fan of Kim Jong-un advancing his weapons cache, this tumbling satellite is a sliver of good news. 

Read more at The Atlantic Wire

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