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Backgrounder: DPRK satellite launch review

(Xinhua)

16:56, April 13, 2012

BEIJING, April 13 (Xinhua) -- An earth observation satellite launched Friday by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) failed to enter orbit, the official KCNA news agency reported.

The Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite was launched at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province, at 07:38 a.m. local time (2238 GMT Thursday), the KCNA reported.

The DPRK has been working on launching satellites into outer space with carrier rockets since the 1980s and Friday's launch was its third try.

On August 31, 1998, the DPRK announced that it had successfully launched and orbited its Kwangmyongsong-1 satellite from the Musudan-ri launch site in north Hamgyong Province.

The United States and South Korea later confirmed the launch but claimed the satellite failed to enter orbit.

On April 5, 2009, Pyongyang said it put Kwangmyongsong-2, an experimental communications satellite, into orbit with a three-stage Unha-2 rocket.

The South Korean defense ministry said that same day that the satellite failed to enter its intended orbit, while the U.S. military alleged that the DPRK had launched a rocket that crashed into the sea.

However, Russia confirmed that the DPRK launched a low earth-orbit satellite that day.

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