Is North Korea’s satellite dead in orbit? Launched last week, the spacecraft seems to be tumbling overhead, according to astronomers keeping track of the device.
“At this stage I’m getting a bit skeptical,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in an interview. “I would start to be mildly surprised if the satellite is really working.”
Retired astronomer Greg Roberts in Cape Town, South Africa, measured the light coming from the satellite orbiting roughly 300 miles above the Earth's surface and found that it seems to grow bright and dim by turns, indicating that it’s spinning as it flies through space, McDowell said. If the satellite were working, it probably wouldn't spin -- it would have to keep the one side of its body with its camera pointed consistently at Earth.
What’s more, trackers looking for the patriotic songs that were supposed to be broadcast from the satellite have yet to pick up the signal, he added.