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

  • Venomous snakes stolen in Niagara break-in, police say

    Canada News CBC News
    Police in the Niagara Region are hunting for a number of venomous snakes. Niagara Region police say the reptiles were stolen on Saturday evening when a home was broken into in Thorold. The stolen snakes include several juvenile cobra species, rattlesnakes, adders and vipers, and a pregnant albino boa. Source
  • Kim Jong Nam death investigation is impartial, Malaysian diplomat says

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - The investigation into the death of the exiled half-brother of North Korea's ruler is being conducted in an impartial manner, Malaysia's ambassador to Pyongyang said Tuesday, rejecting accusations from the North that the probe was politically tinged. Source
  • Venomous snakes stolen from Ontario home

    Canada News CTV News
    THOROLD, Ont. - Police in the Niagara Region of southern Ontario are hunting for a number of venomous snakes. Niagara Region police say the reptiles were stolen on Saturday evening when a home was broken into in Thorold. Source
  • 5 believed dead after plane hits Australian mall [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MELBOURNE, Australia — Five people were believed killed when a light plane crashed in flames into a shopping mall on Tuesday in the Australian city of Melbourne, officials said. The five were on a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air that crashed about 45 minutes before the Direct Factory Outlet mall in suburban Essendon was to open, Police Minister Lisa Neville said. Source
  • 'My life is ruined': Parents of man killed in B.C. kidnapping open up for first time

    Canada News CBC News
    It was September 29, 2015 when Cang Sun got a phone call from his son's kidnapper. Sun was in the process of wire-transferring another instalment of the ransom for his son, Peng Sun, toward the $2.5 million demanded by the kidnapper, when his phone rang. Source
  • Food banks growing own goods as donations decline

    Canada News CTV News
    Food banks are looking to alternative solutions to help augment declining fresh produce donations. “We have no farms in Mississauga, so unlike my counterparts in other areas of Ontario, who have more fresh than they can handle, we don’t get enough fresh here,” explained Mississauga Food Bank’s Executive Director Chris Hatch to CTV News Channel. Source
  • Loblaw resets passwords after security breach of its loyalty program

    Canada News CBC News
    Loblaw has reset passwords for all its PC Plus rewards collectors' online accounts after points were stolen from some members' accounts. The company posted a warning on its website saying it requires all members to create new passwords — regardless of whether or not they changed them following the recent security breach. Source
  • Poll finds 6 in 10 on board with Canada's refugee targets

    Canada News CTV News
    A new poll has found that nearly six in 10 Canadians believe the Trudeau government has “made the right call” with its 2017 refugee targets, while about one in four believe Canada should have followed U.S. Source
  • Judge allows 2nd girl's statements in 'Slender Man' case

    World News CTV News
    Anissa Weier, 15, appears in court in Waukesha, Wis. on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. (Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Source
  • Bell Canada forced seriously ill woman to go to store: Tribunal

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal says Bell Canada discriminated against a seriously ill woman by forcing her to violate her doctor’s orders and go to a store in person in order to acquire a cellphone. Source