North Korean Satellite Launch Fails
At the end of August, the North Koreans launched their two stage Taepo-Dong I missile for the first time. The first stage fell into the sea between Korea and Japan; the second fell east of Japan. The Japanese took the test nearly as an act of war, because for the first time it clearly gave North Korea a means of attacking any target in Japan.
Then the North Koreans insisted that the test had been anything but warlike. In fact, they said, the whole exercise had been a booster launch to place their first satellite in orbit. They published orbit parameters and announced that the satellite was broadcasting songs glorifying their deceased leader, Kim il Sung. After several weeks of controversy, the consensus is that the rocket was indeed intended to launch a satellite, but that the final (solid-fuel) stage failed, so that the satellite never reached orbit.