(SL) – NBC News reports, Kim Jong Un’s latest ballistic missile test flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station and twice as high as any satellite in low-earth orbit, according to South Korea’s military.
Although analysts were scrambling Wednesday to learn what they could about the North Korean launch, Pyongyang said it had tested a new type of missile, named the Hwasong-15.
Dictator Kim’s secretive state claimed it was carrying a “super-large heavy warhead” that was capable of striking the entire U.S. mainland. But analysts say that based on the current evidence it’s hard to prove or debunk the Pyongyang’s claim that it can now hit faraway American targets such as New York or Washington, D.C.
The North Koreans have now test-fired missiles 18 times since President Donald Trump took office in January. Tuesday’s launch was the first for more than two months.
Western officials agreed it appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, which flew further than any other demonstrated by the North.
It was fired on what is called a “lofted” trajectory, meaning it was aimed at a steep angle and traveled very high but landed relatively close to its launch site.
Reaching an altitude of around 2,800 miles above the Earth’s surface, according to South Korea, it crashed down in the Sea of Japan around 600 miles away from where it was fired.
“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken,” Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the White House.
Some experts believe that if North Korea aimed the rocket at a lower angle, as it would in an attack scenario, this range could be stretched to some 8,100 miles — theoretically putting the entire East Coast in range.