North Korea attempted to launch a military reconnaissance satellite early Wednesday — briefly prompting Japan to issue an emergency alert for Okinawa Prefecture — but said the rocket had malfunctioned, crashing into the sea shortly after launch.

The new Chollima-1 rocket carrying the Malligyong-1 satellite failed after its first stage separated due to engine problems and "the unstable character of the fuel used," the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Authorities will "thoroughly investigate the serious defects revealed in the satellite launch," it said, adding that a second attempt would come "as soon as possible."