RE: North Korea's rocket launch imaged by Worldview 1

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Tue Apr 07 2009 - 23:06:13 UTC

  • Next message: Tony Beresford: "SATOBS 8597 Apr 07"

    Bruce MacDonald wrote:
    > > has an image of the contrail and rocket 
    > > plume of North Korea's rocket launch of 2009 Apr 05 near
    > > 02:30 UTC, taken by Digital Globe's Worldview 1 satellite
    > > (07041A / 32060):
    > > 
    > Remarkable imagery there.  Did the operators of Worldview 1 
    > have a copy of its pre-launch elset?  Or perhaps its orbital 
    > plane passes over at roughly 1130 local time?
    Worldview 1 happened to be passing southbound, just west of the launch site,
    which is near 40.85472 N, 129.66611 E. Based on its orbital elements close in
    epoch to the time of launch, the image must have been taken within seconds of
    02:30 UTC. Interestingly, that is about 10 minutes later than North Korea claims
    to have launched its satellite 02:20 UTC), and one minute later than its claimed
    time of insertion into orbit (02:29:02 UTC), which would have occurred far down
    range and out of view, yet the firing rocket is clearly visible in the photo,
    early in its ascent: 
    "Unha-2, which was launched at the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground in Hwadae
    County, North Hamgyong Province at 11:20 on April 5, Juche 98 (2009), accurately
    put Kwangmyongsong-2 into its orbit at 11:29:02, nine minutes and two seconds
    after its launch.
    The satellite is going round the earth along its elliptic orbit at the angle of
    inclination of 40.6 degrees at 490 km perigee and 1,426 km apogee. Its cycle is
    104 minutes and 12 seconds."
    I wonder how North Korea would explain the discrepancy?
    Ted Molczan
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