North Korea launched a rocket Wednesday morning, according to South Korean media and the Associated Press. The launch marks the second such mission this year, after a failed attempt that embarrassed the regime in April.
The rocket was fired at 9:51 a.m., according to the Yonhap news agency in South Korea.
Though North Korea describes the effort as a peaceful satellite launch, the technology used to send a satellite into orbit or launch a missile carrying a warhead is essentially the same, raising fears that a successful mission could be a stride toward putting the United States in North Korea's sights. The U.S., South Korea and other nations condemned the planned launch as a brazen provocation when it was first announced.
The April launch ended in less than two minutes. The rocket broke into pieces shortly after liftoff, a black eye for the country as it marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of founder Kim Il Sung. Earlier attempts to launch a satellite also failed, according to Western officials.
North Korea experts say the latest undertaking is a bid to regain face after the April effort and an attempt to bolster the leadership of Kim Jong Un, who took power late last year.