To coincide with the United Nations “World Press Freedom Day” which was on 3 May, the BBC has issued a joint statement with a group of international broadcasters noting that the jamming of news broadcasts by certain nation states is damaging freedom.
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US decides to concentrate on its own ballistic missile defence instead of Europe’s (Revised and Updated)
Aware that North Korea is much further advanced than Iran with its nuclear weapons programme (North Korea has fission-class nuclear weapons, Iran does not yet have them) and appreciating that North Korea is now verbally threatening the continental USA with nuclear war, US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, has decided to suspend construction of a ballistic missile defence over Europe to defend against Iran’s perceived ballistic missile threat, in favour of one countering North Korea’s nascent internconintental ballistic missile (ICBMs) capability.
While Iran has yet to confirm the reports that it has had another orbital launch fallure on 17-18 February 2013, the evidence is growing. The flight is thought to have been a launch of the Iran’s Safir launch vehicle carrying a small remote sensing/observation satellite called Fajr 3. The Times of Israel and Israel’s Channel 2 television station note that “western intelligence sources” have confirmed all contact with both the rocket and the satellite were lost after launch. The launch is thought to have taken place from the Semnan launch site in Iran.
On a lighter note: I want to go into space says Iran’s President and USA will want him to go (corrected)
Following the successful suborbital launch by Iran of a Rhesus monkey (albeit that there was some confusion of its identity) Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced that he wants to become an astronaut on a flight of Iran’s Kavoshgar suborbital launch vehicle. While some of his opponents and critics have (somewhat unfairly) compared President Ahmadinejad to a monkey himself, given Iran’s somewhat dodgy launch reliabililty record (the previous flight of the Kavoshgar launch vehicle is thought to have failed killng its monkey payload) it is a good bet that the US State Department will shortly putting up the funding for his flight.
While Iran announced, to great fanfare, that it had launched its first monkey into suborbital space and recovered him safely, it then made a great public relations mistake in releasing “before” and “after” pictures of the said Rhesus monkey. The problem was, that not only did the monkey look thorougly miserable in his padding before the trip, after the trip he had appeared to have changed colour and facial markings. Media types cried foul and assumed that there had been a switich suggesting that this was either due to a dead monkey or because the flight had never even taken place. It is more simple than that said official Iranian sources: the pictures were mixed up. Hyperbola gives the Iranian space programme the benefit of the doubt…this time.
Iran’s Press TV English language television service Press TV has released footage of the successful launch of a small monkey aboard a Kavoshgar launch vehicle. The Pishgam (Pioneer) capsule was recovered intact with the monkey still alive after its suborbital flight into space. Such flights will allow Iran to perfect life support systems for manned systems. Iran has a declared aim of launching a human into space by 2019. That statement of intent did not specifyl whether this would be a fully orbital flght or a suborbital one. Iran has already launched small satellites into orbit and is believed to be working on much larger launch vehicles to launch larger spacecraft. One of these might one day be manned.
Having already had a suspected failure earlier in the year, there is increasing evidence that Iran had a second launch failure of one of its Safir launch vehicles during an orbital attempt on or later than 22 September. The evidence was apparenlty disclosed by Jane’s Defense Weekly as they cited various satellite imagery and intelligence data thata a launch had taken plane but had blown up soon after launch. Iran has, as yet, not confirmed this failure or the previous one in May. A discussion of the various pieces evidence is available on the nasaspaceflight forum here.
After Exocet’s lethality was demonstrated in the Falklands War, a lot of effort was put into developing missile and gun defences against Exocet-class sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and, most recently, against their satellite-targeted supersonic successors (e.g. india’s Brahmos missile). However, now a very different kind of anti-ship missile is threating naval ships. These are ballistic missiles which have been especially designed to make high velocity diving attacks “from the Gods”.
In this English language NDTV news channel report the head of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) says he expects the Indian government to approve a seven-year human spaceflight programme by mid-June
Russia Today is reporting that photos of the Moon taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter clearly show Lunokhod-2 the rover that landed on the celestial body in 1973 as part of the Soviet space programme. Good to know the Soviet space programme wasn’t a hoax either then
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