Jeffrey LewisUnha Debris

One of the most fascinating results of the Unha-3 trajectory and relatively success is the debris!  There is plenty of  video of what looks like the first stage fuel tank. (Here is an image of the full rocket for comparison.) There is also some grainy footage of the tank bobbing in the water.

This ought to be really useful for modeling the missile, from allowing measurement of dimensions to examining the structure of the airframe.


  1. Cthippo (History)

    Awesome footage, just waiting for the analysis from the rocket wonks on here.

  2. anon2 (History)

    This is the upper half of the first stage judging by the markings on it. I would think it is either the fuel or oxidizer tank. Global security says that it uses some kind of corrosive propellants — I have no idea. Judging by the lack of cryogenic venting of the missile on the pad, I am guessing that it is not LOX.

    The bottom of the tank has two accordion like fittings and two holes where something was torn apart when the stage broke in two (either in the atmosphere or upon hitting the water). All in all the tank is in remarkably good shape for having hit the water at probably 200 MPH+.

    I noticed in the video some kind of coating on the top of the tank (the other wise with all the wiring harnesses coming off of it).

    I also noticed that the North Koreans appear to have used Zinc Chromate anticorrosion primer paint on the bottom side of the tank and on the stringers. All in all, it looks well built.

    There were other pictures on the web in higher resolution than the video.

    I would like to see pictures of the engines of the first and second stage if they have been recovered.


  3. Picard (History)

    Perhaps SK can reverse engineer parts of this rocket to boost their problematic space program.

  4. simorgh (History)

    It is also interesting that the chipped paint at the cable duct, reveals a dark green base color. This might indicate that the rocket (at least its first stage) was taken from army stocks.

  5. Eve (History)

    Empirical data – yay!!!

  6. Tal Inbar (History)

    The tank is of the oxidizer.

    it is interesting to see, that the color of the missile on the outside is MILITARY GREEN, then white. Note that the green is Not primer – the primar is of light green/yelloish.

  7. Allen Thomson (History)

    One hopes the engines will be recovered off the seafloor. As closely as this event was surely observed, I’d think there’s a good chance of that.

  8. Cthippo (History)

    I think people are reading way way too much into the green primer / paint on the rocket. Paint is heavy, probably a hundred pounds a coat on something this size. As critical as weight is in rocketry I seriously doubt they would just paint over a military rocket rather than start fresh. Most likely the green is zinc chromate primer to protect the body against corrosion as anon2 said.