The Ministry of National Defense has acknowledged North Korea’s successful rocket launch, with a spokesperson telling reporters this afternoon, “We believe the first, second and third stages all separated normally and the payload entered orbit.”
The spokesperson, Kim Min Seok, went on, “The South Korean and U.S. military authorities agree that the load in the top stage of the North Korean long-range rocket entered orbit. However, we will have to wait and see whether the load is operating normally.”
In addition, the spokesperson noted, “(If North Korea wants to use this technology in an ICBM) they will have to obtain the technology for re-entry. It is too early to say whether they have done so, and the same goes for the guidance system.”
According to the Ministry of National Defense, the rocket was first detected at 09:51:20. As such, the launch time is estimated to have been around 09:49:50. The South Korean military’s readiness posture was raised at around 10:00AM.