How do intercontinental ballistic missiles — including the one North Korea launched Tuesday (Nov. 28) that flew more than 10 times higher than the International Space Station — work?
The answer depends on the type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), but most of these rockets launch from a device on the ground, travel into outer space and finally re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, plummeting rapidly until they hit their target.
As of now, no country has fired an ICBM as an act of war against another country, although some countries have tested these missiles in practice exercises, said Philip Coyle, a senior science adviser with The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a nonprofit headquartered in Washington, D.C. But even though North Korea’s tests are also exercises, the provocative nature of these tests has many world leaders on edge, according to news reports.
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