A year’s worth of the Sun from SDO
The object that North Korea sent into space early Thursday appears to be “tumbling out of control” as it orbits the earth, U.S. officials told NBC News.
The officials said that it is indeed some kind of space vehicle but they still haven’t been able to determine exactly what the satellite is supposed to do.
In a statement, the White House said the rocket launch was a highly provocative act that threatens regional security and violates U.N. resolutions.
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday condemned the launch, calling it a “clear violation” of U.N. resolutions. A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he “deplores” the launch.
North Korea is banned from conducting missile and nuclear tests, under the terms of U.N. sanctions imposed after a series of nuclear weapons tests in 2006 and 2009.
Missile warning systems detected the launch at 7:49 p.m. ET Wednesday. North American Aerospace Defense Command officials said in a statement that the initial indications were that the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea and the second stage fell into the Philippine Sea. Japan’s NHK television network said the rocket’s second stage fell minutes after passing near the southern islands of Japan.
North Korea said Wednesday’s launch was an attempt to place a satellite into a pole-to-pole orbit. Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency said that the rocket was fired from the Sohae Satellite Launch Center on the secretive country’s west coast, and that the Kwangmyongsong weather satellite went into orbit as planned.
But U.S. officials say the launch was a thinly veiled attempt to test a three-stage ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as the West Coast.
The first radar post for the US Air Force’s ‘Space Fence’ surveillance system will be built on Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands, military authorities have announced.
The Space Fence is designed to track thousands of space objects, including satellites and man-made debris, in low and medium Earth orbits. Construction on Kwajalein Island is expected to begin in 2013, with the station coming online in 2017, the US Air Force (USAF) said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to USAF, the Space Fence radar system will operate in the S-Band frequency and will be capable of detecting a softball-sized object from 1,200 miles away. When finished, it will “provide evidence of satellite break-ups, collisions or unexpected manoeuvres of satellites”, the USAF said.
Since at least February, the Syrian government has been using Iranian-built drones to track and target Free Syrian Army rebels in their strongholds, including Homs and Hamah. Now some fresh commercial satellite imagery provides new details about the unmanned aerial vehicles’ possible tactics and capabilities.
Based on the imagery, acquired by George Kaplan for his blog Open-Source Geo-Intelligence, the small unarmed, propeller-driven Mohajer 4 drone is apparently limited in range. The Mohajer 4 most likely relies on control signals radioed from its launch base, unlike some Western ‘bots which can be controlled via satellite from facilities pretty much anywhere in the world. The Syrian UAV’s ability to transmit video is probably equally constrained.
The first glimpse by outsiders of drones in Syria came in February, when someone uploaded a video to YouTube depicting what appeared to be a UAV flying over the rebel-controlled town of Kafr Batna. (The February video has been rehosted several times.) Later there was at least one more sighting of a UAV in the insurgent city Homs.
Damascus is not particularly known for operating UAVs. So there was speculation that the drone was U.S. or Israeli and being used to spy on the regime ahead of any possible intervention. But informed observers soon identified the Kafr Batna ‘bot as an Iranian-built Mohajer 4, also known by its general term pahpad, which debuted in a 2010 Iranian naval exercise. “In addition to reconnaissance flight over the operation field, this kind of drone brings ease to battle command by transferring real-time data,” Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh boasted at the time.
U.N. nuclear inspectors displayed new satellite imagery on Wednesday indicating that some small buildings had been dismantled and other possible clean-up work undertaken at an Iranian military site they want to visit.
One image from May 25 showed signs that “ground-scraping activities” had taken place at the Parchin facility, as well as the presence of a bulldozer, according to diplomats who attended a closed-door briefing by U.N. nuclear agency officials.
This will likely further strengthen Western suspicions that Iran is “sanitizing” the site of any incriminating evidence before allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into the complex. “It is very clear,” one Western envoy said.
Iran’s IAEA envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, dismissed such accusations by Western officials, telling reporters after the briefing that “this kind of noise and allegations are baseless”.
Wednesday’s disclosure followed inconclusive talks between Iran and six world powers in Baghdad last week to address concerns about the nature of its nuclear activities.
North Korea’s widely condemned rocket splintered into pieces over the Yellow Sea soon after takeoff Friday, an embarrassing end to a launch that Pyongyang had infused with national pride during a week of high-level political meetings and celebrations.
Within minutes of the early morning launch, the United States and South Korea declared it a failure. North Korea acknowledged that hours later in an announcement broadcast on state TV, saying the satellite that the rocket was carrying had been unable to enter into orbit.
World leaders were swift to denounce the launch, calling it a covert test of missile technology and a flagrant violation of international resolutions prohibiting North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile programs.
The rocket’s destruction suggests the country has yet to master the technology needed to build long-range missiles that could threaten the United States. Still, worries remain about North Korea’s nuclear program amid reports that it may be planning an atomic test soon.
Computer hackers plan to take the internet beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit.
The scheme was outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin.
The project’s organisers said the Hackerspace Global Grid will also involve developing a grid of ground stations to track and communicate with the satellites.
Longer term they hope to help put an amateur astronaut on the moon.
Hobbyists have already put a few small satellites into orbit - usually only for brief periods of time - but tracking the devices has proved difficult for low-budget projects.
The hacker activist Nick Farr first put out calls for people to contribute to the project in August. He said that the increasing threat of internet censorship had motivated the project.
“The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space. Let’s take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities,” Mr Farr said.
He cited the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in the United States as an example of the kind of threat facing online freedom. If passed, the act would allow for some sites to be blocked on copyright grounds.
Whereas past space missions have almost all been the preserve of national agencies and large companies, amateur enthusiasts have in recent years sent a few payloads into orbit.
These devices have mostly been sent up using balloons and are tricky to pinpoint precisely from the ground.
According to Armin Bauer, a 26-year-old enthusiast from Stuttgart who is working on the Hackerspace Global Grid, this is largely due to lack of funding.
“Professionals can track satellites from ground stations, but usually they don’t have to because, if you pay a large sum [to send the satellite up on a rocket], they put it in an exact place,” Mr Bauer said.
In the long run, a wider hacker aerospace project aims to put an amateur astronaut onto the moon within the next 23 years.
“It is very ambitious so we said let’s try something smaller first,” Mr Bauer added.
The Berlin conference was the latest meeting held by the Chaos Computer Club, a decades-old German hacker group that has proven influential not only for those interested in exploiting or improving computer security, but also for people who enjoy tinkering with hardware and software.
After a five-year delay, an Earth-observing satellite launches to test new technologies aimed at improving weather forecasts and monitoring climate change. (Oct. 28)
Pieces of a defunct satellite that plummeted to Earth have come to rest, NASA said Saturday morning.
The space agency said the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite “is down,” according to its Twitter page.
NASA said debris fell to Earth between 11:23 p.m. ET Friday and 1:09 a.m. ET Saturday, but it was not immediately clear where the pieces may have landed.
About two dozen pieces of the satellite were expected to survive the crash through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Late Friday night, NASA predicted satellite parts would pass “over Canada and Africa, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.”
“The risk to public safety is very remote,” NASA said.
The 26 pieces expected to survive the descent — made of stainless steel, titanium and beryllium that won’t burn — ranged from about 10 pounds to hundreds of pounds, according to NASA.
U.S. space officials say they expect a dead satellite to fall to Earth in about a week.
NASA has been watching the 6-ton satellite closely. On Friday officials moved up their prediction for its arrival to Sept. 23, give or take a day.
NASA scientists have calculated the satellite will break into 26 pieces as it gets closer to Earth. The odds of it hitting someone anywhere on the planet are 1 in 3,200. The heaviest piece to hit the ground will be about 350 pounds, but no one has ever been hit by falling space junk in the past.