North Korea Rocket Launch Fails, Setback for New Leader Kim Jong-un

While the UN security council prepares to discuss its limited options in response to Friday's failed rocket launch, the repercussions inside North Korea should prove far more illuminating.

A satellite launch North Korea had hailed as a moment of national pride ended in failure Friday when the rocket disintegrated over the Yellow Sea, earning Pyongyang embarrassment as well as condemnation from a host of nations that deemed it a covert test of missile technology.

The giant explosion that gets a rocket off the ground isn't that complicated. The superhot, superfast exhaust from that giant fire is funneled in a way that shoots the rocket upward. North Korea's Unha-3 rocket combines two liquid propellants — hydrazine and nitric acid — that ignite when mixed, space experts say.