When North Korea launched a rocket on Feb. 7th, purportedly carrying an Earth observing satellite to orbit, observers were skeptical. Some dismissed the launch as a ruse for testing an ICBM. It turns out, however, there really is a satellite. On Feb. 28th, veteran satellite tracker Marco Langbroek saw it flying over Leiden, the Netherlands:
“North Korea’s new satellite Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 (KMS-4) is starting to make visible evening passes over Europe,” says Langbroek.
Shortly after the launch, some experts wondered if the satellite might have failed to deploy properly and started tumbling around Earth. However, that’s not what Langbroek saw: “As far as I can tell over the short imaging arc (~6 seconds) there was no brightness variation. So the satellite is stable, or if it is tumbling it must be a very slow tumble,” he says.
Readers who wish to see Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 for themselves may find tracking data here.