After 14 years of painstaking labor, North Korea finally has a rocket that can put a satellite in orbit. But that doesn't mean the reclusive country is close to having an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Defying international concerns, North Korea fired a long-range rocket early Friday that splintered into pieces over the Yellow Sea about a minute after takeoff in an apparent failure, South Korean and U.S. officials said.
North Korean space officials said Tuesday that all assembly and preparations for this week's planned satellite launch have been completed and denied it is a cover for a missile test.
The United States and its allies are deploying missile defenses on land and sea so they can, if necessary, shoot down a multistage rocket that North Korea says it will launch within a few days.
China has pulled off a tricky and uncommon feat in space flight, maneuvering one of its satellites to within about 300 yards of another while they were orbiting Earth, space analysts say.