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For the 2006 North Korean missile test, see 2006 North Korean missile test.
Type Ballistic missile, Space booster
Production history
Manufacturer North Korea project N ICBM
Weight ~79,189 kg
Length ~35.8 m
Diameter 2.0–2.2 m
Warhead Conventional
Nuclear (speculated)

Engine Liquid
4,000 km–6,000 km (est.)[1]
Speed 6,900–8000 m/s
7,825–7,925 (orbital launch). 9,500–10,500 dv total with losses
Launch Pad
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 대포동 2호
Hancha 大浦洞 2號
Revised Romanization Daepodong 2ho
McCune–Reischauer Taep'odong 2ho
Estimated maximum range of some North Korean missiles [2]

The Taepodong-2 (TD-2, also spelled as Taep'o-dong 2)[3] (Korean: 대포동 2호) is a designation used to indicate a North Korean two or three-stage ballistic missile[4] design that is the successor to the Taepodong-1 technology demonstrator. The missile has been tested once, and failed 35–40 seconds after launch. In 2012 the U.S. Department of Defense assessed that the Taepodong-2 had not yet been deployed.[5] The Taepodong-2 is the technology base for the Unha space launch vehicle.


Based on the size of the missile, the fuel composition, and the likely fuel capacity, it is estimated that a two-stage variant would have a range of around 4,000 km (2,500 statute miles) and a three-stage variant would be capable of reaching as far as 4,500 km (2,800 statute miles), giving it potentially the longest range in the North Korean missile arsenal.[3] The burn time of each stage is a little over 100 seconds, thus allowing the missile to burn for 5 or 6 minutes. Speculative variants of the missile could be capable of a range of approximately 9,000 km (5,600 statute miles).[6] At maximum range, the Taepodong-2 is estimated to have a payload capacity of less than 500 kg (~1,100 lbs).[3]

According to Kim il Son, a former worker in the publications department of one of North Korea's top research centres, North Korea began development of the missile in 1987.[7]

Very few details concerning the technical specifications of the rocket are public information; even the name "Taepodong-2" is a designation applied by agencies outside North Korea to what is presumed to be a successor to the Taepodong-1. The TD-2 first stage likely uses a liquid propellant (TM-185 fuel and AK-27I oxidizer) driven engine and the second stage likely utilises the Rodong short-range missile.[8] Depending on the range, the estimated payload capacity could be as high as 700–1,000 kg (~1,550 - 2,200 lbs) at short range, making it potentially suitable for conventional weapons payloads, NBC payloads as well as Earth orbit satellite delivery. At maximum range, the Taepodong-2 is estimated to have a payload capacity of less than 500 kg (~1,100 lbs).[3] North Korea has yet to demonstrate the ability to produce a re-entry vehicle, without which North Korea cannot deliver a weapon from an ICBM.[5]


First stage[edit]

Taepodong-2's first stage consists of four Rodong motors. It is unknown if the first stage has four separate tanks for fuel and four tanks for oxidizer,[9] or if it has two big tanks for fuel and oxidizer like the Unha rocket.

Second and third stages[edit]

Little is known about the Taepodong-2 design beyond the first stage. Most likely the second stage is one of the Scud-derived North Korean ballistic missiles (either Rodong-1 or Hwasong-6), and the third stage most likely uses Chinese solid-fuel engines.[6]


The first test launch of Taepodong-2 was conducted on July 5, 2006. Between 2006 and 2013 the Taepodong-2 was tested four other times, with its only successful flight coming in December 2012, when it was used as a space-launch vehicle.[10]

Missile test in 2006[edit]

A Taepodong-2 missile was test fired on July 5, 2006 from the Musudan-ri Missile Test Facility. According to preliminary reports, the missile failed in mid-flight 35–40 seconds after launch.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]