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North Korea Steps Closer to Rocket Launch

Could happen in as soon as 5 days
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2012 8:58 AM CST

(Newser) – North Korea has taken another step toward its promised long-range rocket test, which could happen as soon as Monday. The three stages of the rocket have now been assembled on its launchpad at a northwest military base, and Yonhap News reports that workers have been spotted departing the site. The final steps will see cameras and radar equipment installed, and the rocket fueled. If the latter happens over the weekend, South Korean officials anticipate a launch between Monday and Wednesday.

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Though Washington considers the rocket launch to be a veiled cover for tests of technology for long-range missiles, North Korean officials continue to insist they're only launching a "working satellite" into orbit. Pyongyang says the rocket's first stage will drop off in the Yellow Sea, while the second will fall near the Philippines' coast. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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