AP Exclusive: Satellite images show may have slowed North Korea's rocket launch preparations

New satellite images show that heavy snowfall may have slowed North Korean rocket launch preparations but that Pyongyang could still be ready for liftoff starting Monday.

Analysis of GeoEye satellite images from Dec. 4 by the website 38 North in cooperation with NorthKoreaTech shows that snow may have kept Pyongyang from erecting its three-stage Unha rocket at its west coast launch site by Wednesday. That contradicts South Korean media reports that the rocket had been set up by then.

The analysis provided to The Associated Press was written by imagery expert Nick Hansen.

Washington believes Pyongyang's rocket launch is a cover to test technology for missiles that could one day attack the United States.

North Korea says it wants to launch a peaceful satellite between Monday and Dec. 22.