The satellite launched by North Korea on Saturday is tumbling in orbit, rendering it useless, a U.S. official said Monday.
Although the payload of the Unha 3 rocket made it into orbit, it has been tumbling ever since, the official told ABC News. North Korea still views the launch as a success, and the official said the fact that the payload was able to make it into orbit is troubling — the technology needed to make that happen is the same necessary to get a ballistic nuclear armed intercontinental missile to the United States, ABC News reports.
The Joint Space Operations Center is tracking the satellite and a rocket booster stage also in orbit, and it could take years for the payload to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere; the JSPOC is still tracking the payload and debris items from a North Korean missile launched in December 2012, ABC News says. No transmission signals were ever detected coming from that satellite.
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