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North Korea launches satellite
Posted: Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 7:28 AM ET (1228 GMT)
North Korea launched a rocket early Wednesday that appeared to place a small satellite into orbit, a move that took many by surprise. The Unha-3 rocket lifted off from its North Korean launch site at approximately 7:50 pm EST Tuesday (0050 GMT, 9:50 am local time Wednesday). Official government media announced that the launch was a success, and NORAD reported it was tracking what appeared to be the rocket's satellite and upper stage in orbit. The satellite, Kwangmyongsong-3 F2, is thought to be a small remote sensing satellite. The launch was unexpected to many as North Korean officials said earlier in the week that the launch was postponed, until perhaps late in the month, for technical reasons. The launch has been widely condemned internationally because of concerns that the rocket's primary purpose is as a long-range ballistic missile. North Korea made three previous, unsuccessful, attempts to place a satellite into orbit before Wednesday's launch.
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