North Korea’s new satellite flew over Super Bowl site

TOKYO - Here's a bit of Super Bowl trivia: North Korea's newest satellite passed almost right over the stadium just an hour after it ended.

See Full Article

Whatever motives Pyongyang may have about using its rocket launches to develop nuclear-tipped long-range missiles, it now has two satellites circling the Earth, according to NORAD, the North American Aerospace Command, which monitors all satellites in orbit.

Both of the Kwangmyongsong, or "Shining Star," satellites complete their orbits in about 94 minutes and based on data released by international organizations tracking them, the new one passed almost right over Levi's Stadium about an hour after the Super Bowl ended.

"It passed almost directly overhead Silicon Valley, which is where I am and where the stadium is," tech watcher Martyn Williams said in an email to The Associated Press. "The pass happened at 8:26 p.m., after the game. I would put it down to nothing more than a coincidence, but an interesting one."

The game in Santa Clara, California, ended at 7:25 p.m. local time.

North Korea claims Sunday's successful satellite launch was its fourth.

The first two have never been confirmed by anyone else, but experts worldwide agree it got one into orbit in 2012 and NORAD, which is hardly a propaganda mouthpiece for Pyongyang, now has both that and the satellite launched on Sunday on its official satellite list.

Kwangmyongsong 4, the satellite launched Sunday, has the NORAD catalogue number 41332 and Kwangmyongsong 3-2, launched in 2012, is 39026. They are described as Earth observation satellites, and weigh about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) apiece.

Their main applications, according to Pyongyang, are monitoring the weather, mapping natural resources and forest distributions and providing data that might help farmers improve their crops.

North Korea's state-run media quoted scientists and researchers at the North's State Hydro-Meteorological Administration as saying Sunday they are "are delighted at the news" of the launch. Its deputy director, Ryu Pong Chol, reportedly said it will give a big boost to North Korean weather forecasters.

That remains to be seen.

No signals from the previous satellite, which North Korea claimed transmitted the "Song of General Kim Il Sung" and "Song of General Kim Jong Il" after achieving orbit, have ever been confirmed by outside observers. That might be because it was never stable enough to transmit anything back home.

Signals from the new satellite had also yet to be detected. Amateurs and experts alike are doing their best to listen in around the world, but it is unclear exactly what frequency the satellite is supposed to be using, or what it will be transmitting.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said four objects from the 2012 launch are still trackable in their orbits - the satellite itself, the final stage of the Unha-3 rocket that lifted it into space and two small pieces of debris.

"It will stay up for a few more years," McDowell said. "There's no evidence that the spacecraft ever transmitted any signals. If it did work, I suspect it was for only a few hours, if at all."

He said the satellite was in an initial orbit of 498x587 kilometres - figures that denote the object's closest and farthest distance from Earth - similar to the orbit of the satellite launched Sunday. But over 3 years, friction with the Earth's outer atmosphere has brought the older one's orbit closer, to 467x529 kilometres. That's still well above the orbit of the International Space Station.

"Perhaps if the new one works they'll actually release Earth images from it," McDowell said. "We'll see."

He also said the Super Bowl coincidence would fit known tracking data.

"I have no idea when the end of the Super Bowl was, not a sports fan," he said. "But KMS-4 did pass over that part of California at 8:27 p.m. PST at an altitude of 480 kilometres. I calculate it was 35 miles west and 300 miles up as it passed overhead heading almost due north."

For the space buffs out there, the orbits of both satellites can be tracked in real time on the website N2YO.com under the names KMS-4 and KMS 3-2.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Mexican mafia ran jail crime like an 'illegal government,' L.A. authorities say

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles jails are run by the county sheriff, but the Mexican Mafia wielded the power in the underworld behind bars. Authorities say they diminished the influence of the organization made up of leaders from various Latino gangs. Source
  • B.C. firefighters tackling new wildfires near Kamloops and Lillooet

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Firefighters in British Columbia have been called out to deal with a pair of new wildfires. The BC Wildfire Service says crews and aircraft are tackling a wildfire measuring about 50 hectares about 55 kilometres northwest of Kamloops and producing smoke that is visible in several communities in the region. Source
  • Newly released reports highlight chaos of Las Vegas shooting

    World News CTV News
    LAS VEGAS - Gunshots came so rapidly during the deadliest mass shooting in the nation's modern history that one Las Vegas police officer feared he was facing a fully stocked assault team with tactical gear. Source
  • Republicans to meet with intelligence officials on Russia probe

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - House and Senate lawmakers are set to meet with top intelligence officials as U.S. President Donald Trump raises new suspicions about the federal investigation into his 2016 campaign. In recent days, Trump has been zeroing in on and sometimes embellishing reports that a longtime U.S. Source
  • North Korea slams 'ignorant' Pence remarks, threatens to scrap summit

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - North Korea has renewed its threat to pull out of a summit next month with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table. Source
  • Two killed after train plows into truck stopped on tracks in Italy

    World News CTV News
    ROME - A regional train plowed into a big-rig truck stopped on the tracks outside the northern Italian city of Turin late Wednesday, killing at least two people and injuring 18, authorities said. Rescuers worked through the night to make sure no passengers were trapped in the wreckage. Source
  • FBI works to thwart major cyberattack on Ukraine

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - The FBI has put a spoke in the wheel of a major Russian digital disruption operation potentially aimed at causing havoc in Ukraine, evidence pieced together from researchers, Ukrainian officials and U.S. court documents indicates. Source
  • North Korea renews threat to quit summit with Trump

    World News CBC News
    North Korea has renewed its threat to pull out of a summit next month with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table. Source
  • 2,000 people forced from homes as 51 fires rage across Manitoba

    Canada News CTV News
    More than 2,000 people have been forced from their homes, at least 600 from the Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nations, as dozens of wildfires blaze through Manitoba. There are 51 fires currently active in the province. Source
  • U.S. launches national security probe of vehicle imports

    World News CBC News
    The Trump administration on Wednesday launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports that could lead to new U.S. tariffs similar to those imposed on imported steel and aluminum in March. The Commerce Department said the probe under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 would investigate whether vehicle and parts imports were threatening the industry's health and ability to research and develop new, advanced technologies. Source