North Korea's latest missile launch appears to put Washington, D.C., in range [washingtonpost.com] (archive [archive.fo])
North Korea appears to have launched another intercontinental ballistic missile, the Pentagon said Tuesday, with experts calculating that Washington, D.C., is now technically within Kim Jong Un's reach.
[...] The missile launched early Wednesday local time traveled some 620 miles and reached a height of about 2,800 miles before landing off the coast of Japan, flying for a total of 54 minutes. This suggested it had been fired almost straight up — on a "lofted trajectory" similar to North Korea's two previous intercontinental ballistic missile tests. [...] If it had flown on a standard trajectory designed to maximize its reach, this missile would have a range of more than 8,100 miles, said David Wright, co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. [...] The U.S. capital is 6,850 miles from Pyongyang.
Although it may be cold comfort, it is still unlikely that North Korea is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland. Scientists do not know the weight of the payload the missile carried, but given the increase in range, it seems likely that it carried a very light mock warhead, Wright said. "If true, that means it would not be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to this long distance, since such a warhead would be much heavier," he said in a blog post [allthingsnuclear.org].