A North Korean satellite launched into space last week appears to be malfunctioning but could remain in orbit for several years, a leading expert in the United States said Tuesday.
Data from trackers in South Africa and Britain suggest the brightness of the satellite has been fluctuating, which indicates it is tumbling as it orbits. That likely means a malfunction in the probe’s stabilizers because it was designed to constantly point toward the Earth.
Category Archives: Space
Astronomers say apparently malfunctioning North Korea satellite could orbit Earth for years | Fox News
U.S. Intelligence: China to conduct test of more powerful anti-satellite weapon capable of hitting GPS, spy satellites, but after U.S. election
However, a recent intelligence assessment said the test of the Dong Ning-2 direct ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon is being delayed in an apparent effort to avoid upsetting President Barack Obama’s reelection bid, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Intelligence reports from September and this month revealed China will test fire the new DN-2 missile from a ground base sometime in early to mid November.
Rogozin developed and published a get-well strategy in March, and by all accounts it was realistic and reasonable. The strategy admitted that the visible setbacks were really consequences of deeper problems. But outside observers worried that it just wasn’t possible to fix the problems without resources that the government was reluctant to commit.
Worse, the main problem Rogozin found was actually external to the Russian space industry. He realized that the Russian government didn’t really have any idea what to do with the industrial base left over from Soviet times. He found that Russia wanted to continue human spaceflight with the International Space Station, and also “was planning to fly everywhere” without really understanding why. “There is no architecture of values, no clear understanding of concept,” he complained.
“There is only one main task today,” Rogozin told reporters this month. “Russia must determine its goals in space, what are we seeking?”
According to his department’s own estimates, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia claims that Moscow’s golden era of being a frontrunner in the space race may be over thanks in no small part to a loss of respectability and serious funds from a series of hackneyed, failed space projects, which include two satellites that failed to even launch.
Burgess stated in little-noticed written testimony prepared for an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Beijing is developing missiles, electronic jammers, and lasers for use against satellites.
Much of the space warfare activity is being carried out under the guise of China’s supposedly non-military space program, he said.
“The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China’s growing ability to deny or degrade the space assets of potential adversaries and enhances China’s conventional military capabilities,” Burgess said.
Iranian state media have reported that the country has successfully launched a new domestically-built small satellite into orbit on Friday, using technology that can be converted for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
Fars reports Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, and the Minister of Science and Technology, Kamran Daneshjoo, attended the launch. Fars claims Iran has in recent years made advances in its space program, including successful launch of a rocket carrying a mouse, turtle and worms into space.
Iran, according to The Washington Post , also claims it has set a goal to put a man in orbit within 10 years.
As if to distract attention from this embarrassment, the Russian news media once again took up the suggestion that the probe had failed due to U.S. interference. The claim had already appeared several times, first implicating Pentagon radars in Alaska, and then—when a simple look at a map showed the probe had never been in range of them—military installations on Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands. Even the head of the Russian Space Agency, Vladimir Popovkin, got in on the act, telling newspapers last week that he had suspicions but wasn’t going to accuse anyone explicitly.
The accusation was left to an investigative journalist at the independent daily newspaper Kommersant, who wrote in today’s edition that members of the official investigation team suspect the United States of ‘accidentally’ lobotomizing the probe right after it was launched. In this scenario, the Americans were innocently beaming radar signals deep into space to get measurements of a passing asteroid, and forgot to warn Russia. The probe passed through the beam by chance and its autopilot was fried.
The two largest space powers outside the U.S. had wildly divergent records in 2011, with Beijing boasting 19 launches and demonstrating in-orbit docking for a future space station while the Kremlin ordered an investigation into a string of high-profile engineering failures plaguing Russia’s space program.
The implications for Russia of a nosedive in the quality of its space efforts could be especially serious. The failures have been condemned by President Dmitry Medvedev, and the efforts at recovery will be watched carefully beyond Russia. The troubles have hit just as NASA has become reliant on its International Space Station (ISS) partner for manned spaceflights and as Moscow seeks to expand its commercial reach with launches from South America.
Meanwhile, China—only the third nation to develop its own capability to launch humans into orbit and long a player in commercial launch services—is growing increasingly confident.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal agency that focuses on the condition of the oceans and atmosphere, said a severe solar storm could cause global disruptions in GPS systems, power grids, satellite communications, and airline communications.
With solar activity expected to peak around 2013, the Sun is entering a particularly active time and big flares like the recent one will likely be common during the next few years.
GPS systems and electricity networks are increasingly vulnerable to damage by turbulent solar weather, scientists say
The threat of solar storms that could wreak havoc on the world’s electronic systems must be taken more seriously, the UK government’s chief scientist has warned. A severe solar storm could damage satellites and power grids around the world, he said, leading to a “global Katrina” costing the world’s economies as much as $2tn (£1.2tn).