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Being so far from the equator - about 2,700 miles (4,300 km) away, compared with about 1,950 miles (3,100 km) away in the case of NASA's spaceport in Cape Canaveral, Fla. - can make it difficult to reach the more-traveled orbit inclinations used by other nations.
"They can only directly launch into inclinations higher than their latitude, which for this new facility is 39.4 degrees," Brian Weeden, a former orbital analyst with the U.S. Air Force who is now a technical adviser at the Secure World Foundation, told SPACE.com. "So to get to a low-inclination orbit such as GEO, they would need to do a pretty big maneuver after it's in orbit to change the inclination."
Also, the country's relatively close proximity to China, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines makes finding a clear launch range over ocean difficult. A clear range is important to avoid injuries or damage on the ground that could be caused by a rocket failure.
Does the rocket have a chance at success?
With this being the first launch of the Unha-3 rocket design, its success or failure is difficult to predict. But North Korea's two previous attempts to launch a satellite did fail to reach orbit.