Saturday, April 7, 2012

Analysis shows North Korea near to launch

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea may have moved the first stage of a rocket to a launch stand, indicating it is on schedule for a controversial mid-April launch, according to a new analysis of satellite images.

The rocket isn't visible at the Tongchang-ri site, but an analysis provided to The Associated Press by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies says evidence suggests the first stage may be in the launch stand's closed gantry, a support frame, ahead of the launch planned for April 12-16.

That evidence, seen by the institute in satellite photos taken Wednesday, includes an apparent completion of fueling activity, with most of the empty fuel and oxidizer tanks removed from buildings supplying the first stage; a new barricade for vehicles on the road to the pad, indicating higher security; and the removal of objects near the gantry and a clean-up of the launch pad. Read More