SEOUL, South Korea North Korea on Monday extended the launch period for a contentious long-range rocket by another week until Dec. 29, citing technical problems.
An unidentified spokesman for the North’s Korean Committee of Space Technology told state media that scientists found a “technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module of the rocket.”
The statement didn’t elaborate but said technicians were “pushing forward” with final preparations for the launch.
North Korea is making its second attempt of the year to launch a rocket that the United Nations, Washington, Seoul and others call a cover meant to test technology for missiles that could be used to strike the United States. They have warned North Korea to cancel the launch or face a new wave of sanctions.
The North Koreans call the launch a peaceful bid to advance their space program, and a last wish of late leader Kim Jong Il, who died a year ago, on Dec. 17.
North Korea is also celebrating the centennial this year of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, current leader Kim Jong Un’s grandfather. An April launch broke apart seconds after liftoff.