When North Korea tested its intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday, a video from Japan’s NHK national broadcaster captured the moment when its reentry vehicle sped back towards earth.
Mike Elleman, the senior fellow for missile defence at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told Business Insider that the missile burnt up in the atmosphere and failed before impacting the ocean, citing the bright glow going dim as the missile neared earth.
However, Joshua Pollack, a senior analyst at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and the senior editor of the Nonproliferation Review, cast doubt on that assertion.
“Did the RV break up? Or did it simply enter an area of low-lying cloud or fog?” tweeted Pollack.
A successful warhead should “continue to glow and increasingly glow until it impacts the ground, or in this case the ocean,” according to Elleman. For North Korea, having a warhead survive would provide critical information for its research, so it would have been a priority for the missile test, as the whole point of a missile is to deliver a payload.
In the video below, judge for yourself if the reentry vehicle made it or fizzled out.
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