Noah Shachtman, Danger Room, Wired (February 3, 2009)
"Iran says it's sent a domestically-built satellite into orbit. It's a troubling development, if true. Much of the gear and the know-how behind a space launch can also be used for ballistic missiles.
That's the bad news. The good news is that Tehran has a long, colorful history of trying to BS the world about their military capabilities...."
Couldn't have put it better myself. I think the Wired blog's hit the nail on the head: News from Iran, even news with pictures, should be taken with a grain of salt.
This time, though, the pictures are videos - which I'd think are tougher to fake. And, as the Wired blog points out, two objects have been tracked in orbit, right about where the Iranian satellite and upper stage might be.
Looks like this time the news from Iran actually happened, as described.
Versions of the Iranian video show up quite a few places on YouTube, including the Associated Press clip used by Wired:
"Raw Video: Iran Test Launches Space Rocket"
AssociatedPress, YouTube (February 3, 2009)
"Iran's state radio says the country has successfully sent its first domestically made satellite into orbit...."
"Fars News Coverage of Safir-e-Omid Launch"
armscontrolwonk, YouTube (February 3, 2009)
Traditional news media ran rather more conventional headlines:
- "Iran satellite launch cause for concern-Pentagon"
Reuters (February 3, 2009)
- "Iranian satellite raises US fears"
Al Jazeera (February 3, 2009)
- "Report: Iran sends domestic satellite to orbit"
The Associated Press (February 3, 2009)
(July 10, 2008)
North Korea Prepares to Launch: Not the Most Reassuring NewsLooks like North Korea is getting ready to test-fire a missile. They could be ready in a couple of months. Or, they could be towing a large cylindrical object around, just to impress people.
This is a little unsettling, since the North Korean missile seems to be an upgraded version of their Taepodong 2. The thing could have a range of 4,150 miles.
Which makes Alaska a possible target. And Japan. And heavily populated parts of China. Other countries could be affected, too: check it out on a globe.
This isn't good news, but it's possible that North Korea is just getting ready to shake down America and other countries for cash, cargo, and concessions.
More, at "North Korea Seen Preparing for Long-Range Missile Launch" (Global Security Newswire (February 3, 2009)) and "North Korea has second long-range missile launch site: analyst" (AFP via GlobalSecurity.org (September 10, 2008)).
One More Thing: North Korean NukesThere's a good possibility that North Korea has enough fissile material to make a half-dozen nuclear bombs. Actually putting the things together is another matter, but I wouldn't underestimate Dear Leader's country.