Erika Johnsen
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Reports are just starting to emerge and the deets are still developing, but it appears that North Korea has neglected the wishes of the international community and launched a ballistic rocket, supposedly carrying a weather satellite. Even more troubling is that it seems the launch failed and the rocket broke apart. This cannot be good -- stay tuned...

North Korea launched a rocket Friday, US officials confirm, in what the U.S. and its allies consider an attempt to test long-range missile technology.

It is unclear at this time if the launch was successful. U.S. officials tell Fox News that early indications signal the launch may have failed.

The launch window for what North Korea says is an observation satellite began Thursday and extended through Monday. The launch window was timed during a week aimed at celebrating Sunday's centennial birth of Kim Ill Sung, the country's late founder. Events also include high-level meetings where new leader Kim Jong Un has received at least three new titles to further cement his rule.

The United States, Japan, Britain, Russia and others say the launch would be a provocation and would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile programs. Experts say the Unha-3 carrier is similar to the type of rocket that could be used to fire a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead to strike the U.S. or other targets.

Update: Yup, looks like the missile broke apart before it could make it out of the earth's atmosphere. I'd wager that this has got to be pretty embarrassing for North Korea's brazen new 'dear leader':

Pyongyang, North Korea (CNN) -- Defying warnings from the international community, North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Friday, but it appears to have broken apart before escaping the earth's atmosphere, officials said.

No element of the rocket reached space, said a U.S. official, who based that conclusion on data collected by the United States from its first few moments aloft.

"This was supposed to be associated with (Kim Jong Un's) ascension to power. So for this thing to fail ... is incredibly embarrassing," said Victor Cha, former director of Asian affairs for the U.S. National Security Council and now a Georgetown University professor.

The launch occurred at 7:39 a.m. Friday, both Yonhap and YTN reported, citing South Korean officials.

Immediately afterward, the South Korean military dispatched helicopters and ships in an attempt to find debris related to the rocket launch, according to YTN.

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Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.