North Korea: Trigger-Happy

There's a reason they call it rocket science

John Pike tracks North Korea's missile program as director of space policy for the Federation of American Scientists.

How complicated is it for the North Koreans to build a long-range ballistic missile?

Rocketry is grotesquely difficult, which is why they respectfully call it rocket science. So the North Korean achievement is impressive, considering their vast poverty. Unlike anything they have flown before, the Taepo Dong-2 apparently has four motors in the first stage. That makes it much more difficult to build. Preventing vibration from one of the motors from interfering with another motor is not easy. And since it has a...

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