UPDATE at 7:28 p.m.: US official: North Korean rocket 'may have failed'; no further details.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's Defense Ministry says North Korea has fired a long-range rocket.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters in a nationally televised news conference that the rocket was fired at 7:39 a.m.
North Korea had announced it was planning the launch of an observation satellite to celebrate Sunday's centennial of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder.
There was no word from Pyongyang about the launch.
(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press)