The Washington Post

What happened to North Korea’s rocket launch?

Oops, boom. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)


There is nothing like ticking off the entire international community and then watching your satellite disintegrate barely a minute after launching. There’s a video clip of this story in the dictionary right next to the word “anticlimax.”

There’s no good way to spin that.

Andy Borowitz quipped on Twitter, “North Korea Celebrates Record For Shortest Rocket Launch.”

Already, the jokes have started. Nothing says, “This mission should go well” like “We’re launching a highly complicated piece of technology on Friday the 13th.” After all, this is the historical weekend that Titanic happened. That’s a great sign for ambitious, man-made projects that need to go off without a hitch. On the way to the launch, a soothsayer waving an impassioned sign chased the rocket down and told it not to go to the Forum today. Several black cats darted across its path. Around it, people were reading enthusiastic puff pieces about “John Carter.”

While they were at it, they should have named the thing Hindenburg.

There’s nothing more embarrassing than a failure to launch. And I’m not just saying that because of the awful Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle.

What was it that doomed the launch? Here are some suggestions.

— Rocket had been drinking; Rocket insists that this usually does not happen.

— Rocket hit an iceberg

— Rocket highly superstitious, walked under ladder on way to launch

Send help, as these are almost as bad as the incident itself!

This is how the launch ends, not with a bang but a whimper. Well, with a bang, but not the kind of bang you want.

The only thing more disastrous would be if it had gone well.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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