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US official says North Korean satellite is tumbling, but may be OK

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Posted: Dec 13, 2012 1:41 PM

Updated: Dec 13, 2012 1:41 PM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) According to a senior U.S. official, the satellite that was launched yesterday by North Korea is tumbling in orbit, and not acting the way it should. But the official says that doesn't necessarily mean it's out of control.

Either way, the official says it's still significant that North Korea was able to successfully execute all three stages of the missile launch and get the satellite into space.

South Korea's Defense Ministry says the satellite is orbiting normally at a speed of 4.7 miles per second, though it isn't known what mission it's performing.

North Korea says the satellite will be used to study crops and weather patterns.

The launch captured the world's attention yesterday, adding to concerns that North Korea could be on its way to developing missiles that could hit the United States and other distant targets. But experts say the North is still a long way from that capability.

%@AP Links

151-r-20-(Sound of launch of long-range rocket, in North Korea)--Sound of North Korea's first successful launch of a long-range rocket. (13 Dec 2012)

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APPHOTO LON109: In this image made from video, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launching station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. A satellite that North Korea launched on board the long-range rocket is orbiting normally, South Korea said on Thursday, following a defiant lift-off that drew a wave of international condemnation. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video) (12 Dec 2012)

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Topics: North Korea-Rocket Launch UPDATE

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