by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Reuters) – Spurred by last month’s collision of two satellites high above the Earth, the U.S. military plans to begin tracking all 800 maneuverable spacecraft currently operating in space by October 1, a senior U.S. Air Force official said on Monday.
U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Space Command will work together to expand the number of satellites being tracked from about 300 currently, Air Force Colonel Dusty Tyson, chief of the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office, told reporters at a space conference in Colorado Springs.
He said the decision was made at a high-level Pentagon meeting on March 24 attended by Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, General Kevin Chilton, head of Strategic Command, General Robert Kehler, who runs Air Force Space Command and John Grimes, the Pentagon’s chief information officer.
“They’re going to stand up a level of capability by 1 October. They hope to be able to provide conjunction analysis on all 800, plus or minus, maneuverable satellites,” Tyson said at the Space Foundation’s annual National Space Symposium.
Tyson said some officials had long believed a collision of satellites would eventually happen and had been pressing for better tracking of satellites and other objects in space.
But the February 10 collision of a dead Russian military communications satellite and a commercial U.S. satellite owned by Iridium had spurred the military into quicker action, he said.
“It was definitely an impetus to get out and get moving faster. Now that the event has happened, there is definitely movement afoot to try to prevent it from happening again,” he said.
Tyson declined comment on whether better tracking by the U.S. government could have averted the incident.
In order to get access to the expanded tracking data, companies and satellite operators would have to sign a legal agreement with the U.S. government, Tyson said.
He cited possible liability issues if a satellite operator moved to avoid one satellite and put itself in the way of another. There were also concerns about the integrity of the data, he added.
“There are legal aspects that go both ways. It’s not going to happen unless there are some kind of signatures,” he said.
Tyson said key details, such as the terms of those legal agreements and ways that data could be shared with the satellite community or academics, were still being worked out.
He acknowledged that expanding the tracking effort would be labor-intensive, and said Space Command did not have enough manpower to get the job done. He said he had no details on how much the effort would cost, or how it would be funded.
He said there were discussions about reaching out to China and Russia about participating in the tracking effort, but no final decisions had been made.
Colonel Sean McClung, director of the National Space Studies Center at U.S. Air Force Air University, said Washington remained skeptical about a treaty to ban weapons in space because it would be difficult to verify.
But he said support was growing in the United States and overseas for a code of conduct, instead of a formal treaty.
A proposal drafted by the Henry L. Stimson think tank on space “seems to have a lot of merit,” McClung said, adding that he was speaking as an academic and not on behalf of the Air Force or the Obama administration.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
From the House Committee on Foreign Affairs:
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade
Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chairman
Export Controls on Satellite Technology
You are respectfully requested to attend the following open hearing of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade to be held in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Date Thursday, April 02, 2009
Time 1:00 PM
Location Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building
witnesses Larry M. Wortzel, Ph.D.
U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission
Mr. Pierre Chao
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Ms. Patricia Cooper
Satellite Industry Association
Note Witnesses may be added.
by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
From the Houston Chronicle:
Texas man guilty in selling defective shuttle part
HOUSTON — Federal prosecutors say a Houston-area machine shop owner has pleaded guilty to selling NASA a defective space shuttle part that if used could have resulted in the loss of the spacecraft.
Richard J. Harmon, 60, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud Monday during a Houston court hearing.
Prosecutors say Harmon, who had a shop in nearby Alvin, turned in a defective fastener he had been hired to build by a NASA contractor.
The part was to be used to secure cargo in the payload bay of space shuttle Endeavour during a March 2008 flight to the international space station. But a NASA engineer discovered the defect before the flight.
Harmon faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 29.
by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
Today the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law hosts a Symposium on Aviation Legal Capacity Building in Developing Countries. The panel discussion will be live blogged from this post, with updates added to it in real time.
Dean Samuel M. Davis, Dean, University of MS School of Law, Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government and Professor of Law, gave brief opening remarks that noted that this event is an outgrowth of the long tradition of Air and Space law at the University of Mississippi School of Law that started with scholars like Myers McDougal and Stephen Gorove.
Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, Director, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law; Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Space Law, gave opening remarks that briefly discussed Prof. Jaqueline Etil Serrao’s, Associate Director, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law and Executive Editor of the Journal of Space Law, expertise in drafting aviation laws in developing countries. She then introduced the speakers and handed the floor over to Prof. Serrao who will be moderating the panel.
Prof. Serrao’s opening remarks discussed the meaning of the term “capacity building.” She stated that the term had evolved from simply meaning institutional development. She stated that a review by the UN Development Programme that capacity building is the “processes by which individuals organizations, institutions, and societies develop abilities (individually and collectively to perform functions, solve problems and set and achieve objectives.” She then asked the audience to think about this definition in relation to the countries that the respective speakers were being talked about and to think about whether the processes used by developed countries were suitable for application to developing countries.
India Pinkney, International Affairs and Legal Policy Division, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration was the first speaker. She first discussed the FAA’s organization and why it was interested in doing this type of work. She stated that the FAA has numerous divisions, but that all of these divisions must work collaboratively so as to accomplish the goals of the FAA. She then stated that aviation is an “inherently global” activity, and that the FAA’s role is to ensure that things happen in a timely and safe manner. She stated that the framework for making civil aviation work on a global basis was established by the Chicago Convention, which established ICAO. She then stated that the FAA is satutorily required to audit countries with direct flights into the United States. The FAA must ensure that a countries aviation system meets minimum ICAO standards. She stated that this process involves a variety of actors including the State Department, but that the FAA focuses on technical standards. Ifa country does not meet these standards then the FAA engages in consultations to create a joint plan with a country.
She pointed to the closed case of South Africa in the years immediately after apartheid. She stated that the system was full of capable people, but that these individuals lacked the experience to meet ICAO minimum standards. She stated that the FAA worked with South Africa to give technical assistance to help the Nation meet standards. She did note that there is no penalty for a State if it chooses to get technical assistance from another country. She stated that the two countries worked collaboratively on an action plan and that today South Africa is a category I country.
Pinkney then spoke about the decision to pursue technical assistance with another country. She stated that one of the major factors in the decision is the political will of the nation. She stated that it was important for political will to be there not only to bring a nation up to ICAO standards, but also to sustain them.
She stated that challenges in this process include the long period of time involved, ensuring that the director general of civil aviation has the necessary power to make critical aviation decisions, issues with economic civil aviation boards that have a variety of interests in addition to safety, and relationship and trust building issues.
The next speaker was Juan Carlos Salazar, Attorney, Air transport Advisor, United Arab Emirates, General Civil Aviation Authority. He began by briefly talking about his own expeience in this matters. Slazaar has a degree from the McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law. After that he returned to his home country of Colombia to work for the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority, and now works for the United Arab Emirates, General Civil Aviation Authority.
He stated that doing this sort of work for developing countries was rewarding, in that it allows the practitioner to engage in a variety of issues in subject. However, he stated that a drawback from this was that it rarely allows for the ability to focus on an expertise.
Salazar noted that one of the major challenges involved in these processes was cultural differences between countries. He stated that these challenges were not only found in internal structures, but also in external perceptions of the culture, which can lead to misunderstandings by those coming in to assist in capacity building. He pointed out that most systems have the same sort of issues and problems with their aviation systems.
He stated that one of the most important aspects of capacity building was the development of the human resources side of operations. A state must be able to propagate the information gained from capacity building to successive generations of personnel. He pointed out that the UAE is particularly dependent on outside expertise, and that it is sometimes difficult to attract new personnel in from abroad.
Another issue that Salazar saw as important was dealing with the fact that every country has its own agenda. He said that sometimes it was important to get around these agenda’s in order to ensure safety.
Finally, he stated that there was a need in capacity building to put in place a system that is appropriate for that country involved and one that is compatible with the extent legal system. He emphasized that the system must be custom built for the system. This way the system will not only function properly, but also that the people who have to use the system will be invested in it.
Short discussion then occurred which highlighted political constraints on capacity building and the difficulties that these constraints caused. Comments also highlighted the importance of ICAO. Pinkney highlighted regional agreements that help regional groups share resources in order to meet safety standards. Salazar expanded on this concept stating that reluctance to share information must be overcome in order for the system to operate effectively. Serrao stated that this problem is often aggravated when a state receives the technical training and then the personnel leave to go and work in another country for more money. Salazar noted that the global economic downturn may very well exacerbate this problem.
Salazar was asked what the effects of the economic downturn was on Colombia and its aviation system. Salazar stated that it was hurting exports and the tourism industry in Colombia. He stated that the airlines were in turn relying on the government to aid them through this time. He stated that this creates a host of issues.
Discussion then turned to the difficulties of separating economic issues from safety issues. It was noted that sometimes these two values conflict with each other and that the economic downturn could have a negative effect on safety regulations.
Salazar was then asked what the difficulties of dealing with different legal systems was like. This question was specifically addressed towards the differences between civil an common law systems. He stated that the differences could be seen in the implementation of different international conventions. For instance he stated that the Warsaw Convention was essentially based on civil law and that the Capetown Convention on Movable Assets was essentially based on common law. He stated that the implementation of these conventions can be difficult in legal systems that are not used to interpreting such legal documents.
After the discussion Christy Hancock, a Student at the University of Mississippi School of Law, presented on her research into Malawi’s civil aviation system. Her research, done as an intern under Prof. Serrao, addresses Malawi’s legal framework and organizational structure. Specifically, she and her project partner researched the organizational structure, economic structure, and accident investigation structure on six African nations and how those systems compared to Malawi’s system.
She first addressed her research on Mozambique. She stated that this part of her project highlighted the difficulties of this sort of research because most of the material was unavailable. So that there was very little information available and most of it did not apply to civil aviation.
She then moved to addressing Egypt. She gave a short summary of the organization of the civil aviation authority, which does include a separate entity in charge of safety. She stated that little was available on the economic and accident investigation structures.
Finally, Hancock addressed Tanzania. She stated that there was a great deal of information available on Tanzania’s structures. She stated that the Tanzania civil aviation authority was very structured, the economic structure involved transparency measures, and that while the safety procedures were not available they were provided for in the legislation. She also stated that the website for the TCAA accident investigations arm was very thorough including a great deal of statistics.
A short discussion occurred at this time that covered the difficulties of language in doing this work. The panel agreed that capacity building was often assisted by the ability not only for documents to be translated to assist in the capacity building, but for parties taking part in capacity building to put forth an effort to communicate in the language of the state where capacity building is taking place.
Rebecca Beckett, Law Student at the University of Mississippi School of Law, rounded out the discussion on the Malawi research project. She also served as an intern under Prof. Serrao, and evaluated three African nations in order to give a comparison of their civil aviation systems to that of Malawi.
She first discussed the civil aviation system of Zambia. She stated that Zambia’s Department of Civil Aviation works through five sections. She stated that the Minister of this department had the ability to make regulations on fees, safety, and the industry in general. She then went on to describe the system and various conflicts that could arise due to conflicts that could occur due to the organization.
Next Beckett addressed the system of Kenya. She noted that the Kenyan system was also very structured, but that it may also suffer from safety and economic issues being intermingled within the system.
Finally, she addressed the system of South Africa. She noted that the South African CAA was established in 1998, after the passage of a law that shifted focus from economic development to that of safety. She did note however that there may still be oversight issues which could allow economic issues to be taken into account when making safety decisions. This is due to Ministry of Transportation control over Civil Aviation Authority.
Prof. Serrao then requested participants to give advice to law students on how to pursue a career in aviation law. Pinkney stated that she was in a large private firm, and saw an opening at the FAA, but that she did want to pursue international issues. She took the opportunity and then worked to move her way into the international division. She stated that the experience on the litigation side at the FAA allowed her to work closely with the technical side which is very important for what she does now. She emphasized that the first job out of law school school should be used to gain the fundamentals of law, and then these should be used to move into the area in which one would like to practice.
Salazar stated that he was interested in international law. He stated that he was attracted to aviation law because of the diversity of people and cultures that it is possible to be exposed. He stated that it is very challenging and very rewarding.
Prof. Serrao gave brief concluding remarks thanking the audience for their participation, and we thank you for following along on Res Communis.
by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
The White House reports that the H.R. 1512: Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009 was signed this morning:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 30, 2009
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
On Monday, March 30, 2009, the President signed into law: H.R. 1512, the “Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009,” which extends through September 30, 2009, authorities to: collect taxes that fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund; make expenditures from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund; and make grants to airports under the Airport Improvement Program.
by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
From the FAA:
Obama Set to Nominate Babbitt as FAA Administrator
March 30 – The White House announced its intention to nominate veteran aviation professional J. Randolph “Randy” Babbitt as the next administrator of the Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA).
He is widely recognized as an aviation expert. Currently, Babbitt is a partner at Oliver Wyman, an international aviation consulting firm. A former airline pilot, Babbitt was president and CEO of the Airline Pilots Association.
Babbitt is well familiar with the inner workings at the FAA. President Clinton appointed Babbitt to FAA’s Management Advisory Council in 2000. Just last year, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters appointed him to the independent review team of aviation and safety experts that examined the FAA’s approach to safety. That team offered recommendations to improve the agency’s safety culture and the implementation of an aviation safety system.
The announcement was well received within the agency. In a broadcast message to all employees, acting Administrator Lynne Osmus said, “Randy is no stranger to the FAA, and many of us have had the pleasure of working with him over the last several years.”
J. Randolph Babbitt, Nominee for Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
J. Randolph Babbitt, known as Randy, is a partner in the worldwide aviation consultancy of Oliver Wyman. He was the former Chairman and CEO of Eclat Consulting until they were acquired by Oliver Wyman in 2007. Babbitt is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of aviation safety and policy, and labor relations with almost 40 years of experience in the industry. Babbitt began his aviation career as a pilot for Eastern Airlines and flew for more than 25 years. He served as President and CEO for US ALPA, the world’s largest professional organization of airline pilots. In 1993 he served as a Presidential appointee on the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry. In 2008 Babbitt was named by the Secretary of Transportation to an independent review team of aviation and safety experts tasked with evaluating and crafting recommendations to improve the FAA’s implementation of the aviation safety system and its culture of safety. Babbitt attended both the University of Georgia and the University of Miami.
by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
China says no plans to shoot down N.Korean rocket
30/03/2009 16:27 BEIJING, March 30 (RIA Novosti) – China has no plans for special operations against North Korea’s upcoming rocket launch, a Chinese Air Force General said on Monday.
North Korea announced plans last month to launch what it says is a communications satellite from its Musudan-ri launch site on April 4-8. However, the U.S., Japan and South Korea believe that the secretive state is planning to test its Taepodong-2 long-range missile.
“China has focused on how to defuse tensions and bring about reconciliation… China believes that peace is golden,” China Daily quoted Lt. Gen. Liu Chengjun, president of the Beijing-based Academy of Military Science, as saying. . . .[Full Story]
by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty
Source: Space News
By BECKY IANNOTTA
Space News Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — NASA has delayed the launch of the next Landsat until December 2012, a decision that will force longer reliance on a pair of U.S. land-imaging satellites already past their primes but that should also give Landsat designers enough time to add a $130 million thermal-infrared sensor to the new spacecraft.
The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) — also known as Landsat 8 — had been slated for a July 2011 launch, but NASA pushed the date back some 17 months after asking anindependent review team to come up with more conservative schedule and cost estimates in an attempt to minimize overruns that have riddled large-scale missions.
“NASA changed the launch date from July 2011 to December 2012 to accommodate the agency’s requirements to plan missions and provide resources with a reasonable expectation of staying within schedule and budget,” NASA spokesman Steve Cole said. “This has been interpreted as planning to a 70 percent confidence level that we will meet the mission [cost and schedule].”
The independent review team determined in September that LDCM had a less than 20 percent chance of making a July 2011 launch, Cole said. NASA also set LDCM’s baseline budget at $699 million, up from a previous $555 million.
LDCM is the eighth in a series of moderate-resolution land imaging satellites the United States has been launching since 1972, usually under a partnership between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and is intended to ensure there are no breaks in the collection of the remote sensing imagery.
The thermal-infrared data that has been collected by the two Landsats currently in orbit is used to remotely measure water consumption and monitor volcanic activity. The data is especially prized by western U.S. states that rely on it to determine water rights and monitor interstate water compacts. When the White House approved the LDCM mission in late 2005, it made no provision for including a thermal band since the capability was deemed experimental, not a firm requirement. Western governors protested and Congress responded by directing NASA to take steps to include a thermal-infrared sensor.
The LDCM delay should buy enough time to add the thermal-infrared sensor to the mission, said Bruce Quirk, program manager for the USGS Land Remote Sensing program. Earlier estimates found that adding the instrument could cause a one-year delay.
“We were concerned at one time because it looked like putting the thermal imager on would delay the launch,” Quirk said. “But NASA has moved the launch so that will allow us to include that capability on the satellite.”
General Dynamics Advanced Information of Gilbert, Ariz., is building LDCM under a $116 million fixed-price contract awarded in April 2008. The contract includes an option to add a second instrument to the satellite. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., is building the satellite’s Operational Land Imager under a $127.9 million contract NASA awarded in July 2007.
NASA is studying the possibility of including the $130 million thermal-infrared sensor on LDCM but has not received funding or direction from Congress to add the instrument, Cole said. Congress included $10 million in the 2009 budget for NASA to “initiate development and identify the earliest and least expensive approach and flight opportunity.”
Cole said NASA began preliminary concept work on the thermal-infrared sensor last summer so the agency would be prepared to build the instrument if Congress directed it to do so. The $10 million, Cole said, will allow NASA to continue the concept development work in earnest, with a preliminary review of the initial design planned in June. That review will give NASA officials a better idea of the cost and schedule requirements for adding the instrument to LDCM, he said.
Meanwhile, USGS officials admit they are on borrowed time with the 25-year-old Landsat 5 and 10-year-old Landsat 7 satellites currently in orbit. While USGS officials have revised previous estimates that both satellites would run out of fuel by the end of 2010, other problems with the satellites have raised questions about how much longer they will last. Both were built with a five-year design life.
“We’ve had mechanical and electrical problems often and we’ve found a way to compensate each time,” said USGS spokesman Ron Beck. “But it’s still a crap shoot, I’ll tell you that.”
USGS managers believe both satellites have enough fuel to survive at least three more years, Beck said.
“We’re monitoring them very closely and we believe our estimates are solid that they will last until December 2012,” Beck said.
The science community has been frustrated by delays in getting a new Landsat satellite in orbit before one or both of the existing satellites fails. Scientists note with irony the inclusion of the word “continuity” in the mission’s name given the potential for a gap in Landsat data collection.
“The delays are very serious because we’re probably looking at a time when we won’t have Landsat data for the first time since 1972,” said Curtis Woodcock, Landsat science team leader and professor at Boston University‘s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. “I don’t think the satellites will make it to 2012, but maybe they will.”
The most pressing issue now, Woodcock said, is to think beyond LDCM to a follow-on mission to avoid gaps in Landsat data collection later on. Congress directed NASA in the conference report accompanying the 2009 budget to work with USGS and the Office of Science and Technology Policy on a plan for a follow-on LDCM mission. The plan is due to the House and Senate Appropriations committees by Aug. 31.
NASA has been focusing most of its energy on 15 science missions outlined in a 10-year plan known as the Earth science decadal survey, while USGS does not have the resources to build and launch satellites. The result, Woodcock said, is a sort of “bureaucratic morass” that has stymied work on future Landsat missions.
“What’s important is not to get into the same situation we’re in now,” Woodcock said. “Landsat is not new. It’s important and it’s valuable and it’s been proven so many times.”
David Wright, Examining North Korea’s satellite launch vehicle, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Chen Lan, Is the Chinese manned space program a military program?, The Space Review
Tensions Rise Before North Korean Rocket Launch – Danger Room
Safety Transparency in the EU – Aviation Law Prof Blog
NOAA Aims to Start National Climate Service – Spatial Sustain
MDA Cuts Likely; Hints of Change – DoD Buzz
Cosmic Clockwork – Arms Control Wonk
U.S. also readying to shoot down North Korean missile – FP Passport
Czech government suspends ratification of missile agreement with the US – Georgetown Security Law Brief
Airline Alliances? “Hell no,” Says Oberstar – Aviation Law Prof Blog
Irish Company Indicted for Exports to Iran – Export Law Blog
Into Space – The White House Blog
DNI Pushes Billions for New Secret Sats – DoD Buzz
Globalstar receives Le Bailout? – Satellite Today Blog
(NSGIC’s Own) Michael Byrne Named GIO of California – NSGIC Blog
North Korea Missile Launch: How Serious a Threat? – Danger Room
On Protectionism and Alliances – Aviation Law Prof Blog
DPRK: Keeping its Secrets – Arms Control Wonk
Obama Nominates Former ALPA CEO as FAA Administrator – Parabolic Arc
Call for Papers – Space Elevator Blog
An early mark(er) for shuttle life extension – Space Politics
Maybe he is serious – Space Politics
The Shocking Truth About the Father of the Space Station – 21st Century Waves
Batman Begins – Total Wonker
DPRK: Reading Between the Blurs – Arms Control Wonk
Spy Satellites Gain Images of NKorea Rocket – Spaceports
Sat Tracks North Korean Missile Build-Up – Danger Room
by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
A collection of news on the planned North Korean space launch from over the weekend.
Japan Orders Possible North Korean Rocket Interception
By Kurt Achin
27 March 2009
Japan’s military is getting ready to shoot down part or all of the rocket North Korea is planning to launch, if it looks like it will land anywhere on Japanese territory. Meanwhile, senior regional envoys are heading to Washington to craft a diplomatic response to the imminent launch.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada says he has ordered the interception of any dangerous debris, if anything goes wrong with North Korea’s planned rocket launch.
He says any missile or rocket flying over Japan is unacceptable, and adds Japan will take approriate measures with anything that affects the nation’s interests. . . . [Full Story]
From Aero-News Network:
North Korean Satellite Launch May Violate UN Rule, Mullen Says
Sat, 28 Mar ’09
Indications Point To Possible Attempt Next Week
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed growing concern Friday over a possible North Korean satellite launch that could violate United Nations sanctions against nuclear testing by the government in Pyongyang.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said North Korea has threatened a launch as soon as next week… and added that US ships Friday moved from Japanese ports toward the Korean peninsula. . . .[Full Story]
From RIA Novosti:
N.Korea missile launch to complicate security – UN Sec. Gen.
15:34 | 28/ 03/ 2009
MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) – The launch of a missile by North Korea would complicate peace and stability in northeast Asia, the UN secretary general said Saturday. . . .[Full Story]
From Space Daily:
Spy satellites spot nose of NKorea rocket: report
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) March 29, 2009
Spy satellites have photographed the nose cone of a long-range North Korean rocket on its launch pad, South Korea’s main news agency said Sunday, with tensions high ahead of what the US says will be an illegal missile test.
Global concern has been mounting over North Korea’s announcement that it will launch a communications satellite between April 4 and 8. . . .[Full Story]
From the New York Times:
No U.S. Plans to Stop Korea on ICBM Test
By THOM SHANKER
Published: March 29, 2009
WASHINGTON — The United States has no plans for military action to pre-empt the launching of a long-range missile by North Korea and would act only if the missile or its parts appeared to be headed toward American territory, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Sunday.
The description by Mr. Gates of a calibrated military response was the most definitive to date as the international community, led by the United States, Japan and South Korea, pursues diplomatic action to press North Korea not to proceed with the launching of a Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile. . . .[Full Story]
From The Times Online:
Iran missile experts in North Korea ‘to help with rocket launch’
Missile experts from Iran are in North Korea to help Pyongyang prepare for a rocket launch, according to reports.
Amid increasing global concern over the launch, which the US and its allies consider to be illegal, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper claimed today that a 15-strong delegation from Tehran has been in the country advising the North Koreans since the beginning of March.
The experts include senior officials from the Iranian rocket and satellite producer Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the newspaper said. . . .[Full Story]