North Korea, long known to obscure its ballistic missile tests behind claims of space rocket launches, may well try to fire a satellite into orbit this month, according to top US intelligence officials.
"The North Koreans announced that they were going to do a space launch, and I believe that that's what they intend," National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week. "I could be wrong, but that would be my estimate."
North Korea announced its intention to launch the satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 in February. Regional powers suspected the claim as a cover for the launch of a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.
North Korea has faked a satellite launch in the past to cloak its missile development. In 1998 it claimed to have put a satellite into orbit when a failed test missile splashed down near Japan.