North Korea's rocket splintered and crashed into the sea minutes after it was launched, South Korea's Defence Ministry said.
Debris from the rocket which exploded in the air and broke into around 20 pieces crashed between 190km and 210km off Kunsan, a city on the west coast of South Korea, according to a South Korean official.
The long-range missile was fired in the face of international condemnation at 11.39pm on Thursday (7.39am local time) from the west coast launch pad in the hamlet of Tongchang-ri.
North Korea said it wanted the Unha-3 rocket to put a weather satellite into orbit, although critics claimed it was designed to enhance the capacity of North Korea to design a ballistic missile.
The United Nations Security Council denounced the attempt as 'deplorable':
Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the launch and said the country's ambassador would be summoned to the Foreign Office later today to discuss concern over the actions.
Our China Correspondent Angus Walker, is in North Korea: