Incident At Isfahan

Hmmm, I wonder what this is all about?

‘Mysterious explosion rocks Iranian city of Isfahan’

A large explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan, semi-official FARS news reported Monday afternoon.

According to the report, the blast occurred shortly after 2:00 p.m. FARS did not reveal the cause of the explosion, which was large enough to be heard throughout Iran’s third largest city.

. . .

Isfahan is home to nuclear experimental reactors, and also a uranium enrichment facility for producing nuclear fuel.

See also:
Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility
Report: Huge blast heard in Iranian city of Isfahan
Iran: explosion in Isfahan reported
Loud Blast Reportedly Rocks Iranian City of Isfahan
Mysterious blast heard from Iran’s Isfahan city; reports conflicted
‘Explosion’ in Iran raises suspicions of attack on nuclear missile program
Blast near Iran nuclear facility
No explosion in Isfahan: Iran official
Iran official: Blast near nuclear site caused by military mishap
Sound of blast reported in Iran’s Isfahan city
BREAKING: Explosion Reported at Isfahan, Iran, ‘Home to Key Nuclear Facility’
More “Bad Luck” in Iran; “Huge” Explosion Reported Outside Isfahan
In Iran, a series of mysterious incidents raises sabotage suspicions

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this is the second major explosion,in less than two weeks, at or near a facility involved with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

/or maybe it’s not a coincidence at all, more faster please

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Duqu Shoots, It Scores!

Duqu goes in where Stuxnet has been . . .

Iran claims defence computer systems hit by another ‘supervirus’

Anti-virus experts last month identified a virus called “Duqu” that they said shared properties with the now famous “Stuxnet” worm, which spread across the world but is thought to have been successfully targeted at the nuclear programme’s centrifuges, the devices that enrich uranium to create nuclear fuel.

It was not clear on Monday from the Iranian statement whether Duqu had also struck nuclear facilities, but it was the first admission of damage.

“We are in the initial phase of fighting the Duqu virus,” Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s civil defence programme, said. “The final report which says which organisations the virus has spread to and what its impacts are has not been completed yet.

See also:
Iran Working to Control Duqu Virus Attack
Iran detects Duqu virus in system
Duqu Virus Detected in Iran
Iran says has detected Duqu computer virus
Iran finds Duqu-infected systems
Duqu infiltrates Iranian networks
Iran admits Duqu attack; denies report its nukes are for war, not power
Iran detects Duqu infections
Iran wrestles Duqu malware infestation
Security researcher says Iran to blame for its own Duqu infections
Iran claims Duqu virus aimed at sabotaging its nuclear sites
‘Duqu virus aiming at Iran’s nuclear sites’
Iranians say nuke project hit by new computer virus
Iran produces antivirus software against new worm
Iran Develops Software to Thwart Duqu Virus Attack
‘Iran can thwart Duqu spyware’
Iran says Duqu malware under ‘control’
Iran says it has ‘controlled’ Duqu malware attack
Beyond Stuxnet

Duqu is the, arguably more sophisticated, follow on to Stuxnet, which took control of Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges and spun them at speeds well beyond their design capability until they failed. Stuxnet was an offensive weapon. Unlike Stuxnet, Duqu is, at least so far, strictly a reconnaissance tool, gathering and reporting back information on systems related to Iran’s nuclear program, preparing the battlespace as a prelude to a future attack if you will. Whether the next attack will be another
Stuxnet like cyberstrike or physically digging in the Iranian dirt is a layman’s guess. One thing’s for sure, the next attack on Iran’s nuclear program is coming and Iran won’t be able to stop it.

Iran claims to have thwarted Duqu but, then again, they said the same thing about Stuxnet and Stuxnet blew out their centrifuges. Anyway, if Iran is just now admitting that they’ve been infected by Duqu, Duqu may have already accomplished its reconnaissance mission and gone dormant. Whatever information Iran releases publicly is pretty much a lie, propaganda, you can safely assume that whenever they acknowledge their nuclear program has been compromised, the damage is much worse than they’re letting on.

And remember, whether it’s another cyberattack or airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, all it does is buy us time. Stuxnet set the Iranians back, but it didn’t deter them. Destroying some of their nuclear facilities won’t deter them either, in fact, it’ll probably make them even more defiant. The only endgame that will bring closure is regime change. And think about it, if we do that, we’ve just resolved 70+% of the world’s instability problems.

/my vote is for a comprehensive, all hands on deck, leave no stone unturned, decapitation campaign, Mullahs and the Republican Guard gots to live and work somewhere and I bet we have the GPS coordinates

Russian Poison From The Sky

This time, it’s the Russian’s turn to randomly drop a spacecraft to Earth from orbit, only this one is loaded up with ten tons of highly toxic chemicals. When you duck, don’t forget your umbrella.

Toxic Russian Mars Probe Heads Back to Earth

It’s hard to believe that only last week we were getting excited for Russia’s first interplanetary mission in 15 years to launch. By now, we should be happy in the knowledge that the ambitious — and awesome — mission is powering through space, toward the Martian moon Phobos.

The reality is that we are now discussing uncontrolled reentry scenarios.

As if that wasn’t enough bad news, we are looking at an uncontrolled toxic reentry scenario. Phobos-Grunt — correctly written “Fobos-Grunt,” meaning “Phobos-Soil” or “Phobos-Ground” — is fully-laden with unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide; that’s ten tons of fuel and oxidizer. The probe itself weighs-in at only three tons.

The majority of the fuel will likely vaporize during reentry, but everyone will be hoping for a splash-down in an ocean (which covers two-thirds of Earth, fortunately), as the wreckage will still be hazardous. There’s also a small quantity of radioactive cobalt-57 in one of the science missions housed in the probe — a fact that will most likely cause a media frenzy.

It is for these reasons that the Russian media is dubbing Phobos-Grunt “Most toxic falling satellite ever.”

See also:
Russia’s Phobos-Grunt Spacecraft Goes AWOL
Russian Mars Probe Will Likely Come Crashing Back to Earth
Toxic Russian Mars Probe Likely Heading Back to Earth
Mood grim over Mars probe faultRussia Running Out Of Time, As Mars Mission Seems Destined To Fail
Report: Russians Believe Martian Moon Probe is ‘Lost’
Source: Russian Space Probe Unlikely to be Saved
Phobos-Grunt Mars probe remains silent in Earth orbit
Now Russians can’t even contact their busted Mars probe
Contact with Russian Mars probe ‘unlikely’ – expert
Failed Russian space mission shows difficulty of exploring Mars
Salvaging Science from Stricken Mars Moon Probe: A Scientist’s View
Phobos-Grunt mission
Fobos-Grunt

Man, the Russians just can’t catch a break. This is their fourth launch failure just this year and now they’re 0 for 18 at Mars missions.

/and we trust the Russians with our U.S. astronauts, it makes me nervous

Back In The Soyuz Again?

The good news is that we probably won’t have to abandon the International Space Station after all. The bad news is that we’re still dependent on the Russians to get our astronauts there.

NASA Confirms Russian Soyuz Failure Findings

An independent NASA panel reviewing data related to the Aug. 24 failure of the Russian Soyuz rocket transporting cargo to the International Space Station has confirmed that the Russian space agency correctly identified the cause of the problem and is taking appropriate steps to resolve it before the rocket’s next launch scheduled for Oct. 30, said William H. Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, determined that the most likely cause of the failure was contamination in the rocket’s fuel lines or stabilizer valve, which caused low fuel supply to the gas generator, Gerstenmaier told lawmakers Oct. 12 during a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s space and aeronautics panel.

See also:
NASA review clears way for manned Soyuz flights
Russian Soyuz Recovery Strategy Endorsed
NASA ‘confident’ Russia’s Soyuz rocket safe
NASA says Soyuz rockets safe for American astronauts
Russian Rocket Failure Shouldn’t Force Space Station Evacuation, NASA Tells Lawmakers
NASA Gives Blessing for Soyuz Rocket, Which is Ready for Takeoff [PHOTOS]
August’s Russian rocket failure is unlikely to force evacuation of the International Space Station
NASA Says Russian Soyuz Flight Risk Low
NASA offers Congress assurances over space station

Hopefully, the Russians have come to the correct conclusion as to what the glitch was on last August’s failed resupply flight and have taken the proper actions to fix the problem.

/although I’d feel a whole lot better if the next Soyuz flight, the first since the August crash, wasn’t manned, just in case the Russians still have it wrong

Look Out Below!

As they say, what goes up, must come down. Round and round she goes, where she’ll hit, nobody knows.

Huge Defunct Satellite Falling to Earth Faster Than Expected, NASA Says

NASA space junk experts have refined the forecast for the anticipated death plunge of a giant satellite, with the U.S. space agency now predicting the 6 1/2-ton climate probe will plummet to Earth around Sept. 23, a day earlier than previously reported.

The defunct bus-size spacecraft is NASA’s Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), which launched in 1991 and was shut down in 2005 after completing its mission. The satellite was expected to fall to Earth sometime this year, with experts initially pegging a weeks-long window between late September and early October, then narrowing it to the last week of this month.

. . .

NASA expects at least 26 large pieces of the massive satellite to survive the scorching temperatures of re-entry and reach Earth’s surface. Titanium pieces and onboard tanks could be among that debris, but the UARS satellite carries no toxic propellant (NASA used up all the fuel in 2005).

The debris is expected to fall over a swath of Earth about 500 miles (804 kilometers) long, NASA officials said.

There is a 1-in-3,200 chance of satellite debris hitting a person on the ground, odds that NASA says are extremely remote. Outside experts agree.

See also:
Dead NASA Satellite Falling From Space, But When & Where?
Space Satellite UARS Adrift and Heading for Earth
Nasa warns of fresh risk from £468m satellite falling from space
NASA Not Sure When, Where Falling Satellite Will Hit Earth
NASA Satellite Falling to Earth: Will You Be Hit?
Nasa satellite UARS nearing Earth ‘could land anywhere’
NASA is Deorbiting a Satellite, but They Don’t Know Exactly Where or When It’s Coming Down
The Sky is Falling As UARS Drops In
Keep Sept. 23 open: A satellite is heading our way
Six-ton NASA satellite to collide with Earth
NASA UARS satellite expected to crash to Earth

A 1 in 3,200 chance of a piece of debris hitting someone on the ground is extremely remote? Um, no, the chances of getting hit by lightening or winning the lottery are remote. 1 in 3,200 is like hey, don’t forget to duck.

/we have much larger satellites on orbit, let’s hope we never lose positive control of any of them, say as the result of a Chinese attack

Chinese Stealth?

As usual, it appears that the Chinese have been putting their stolen Western technology secrets to good use. Check out their new J-20 “stealth” fighter, look familiar? While it may be based on stolen Western technology, there’s questions as to how “advanced” it really is. One thing’s for sure, the damn thing is huge, as fighters go!

Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter In Taxi Tests

China’s first known stealth aircraft just emerged from a secret development program and was undergoing high-speed taxi tests late last week at Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute’s airfield. Said to be designated J-20, it is larger than most observers expected—pointing to long range and heavy weapon loads.

Its timing, Chengdu’s development record and official statements cast doubt on U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s 2009 prediction (in support of his decision to stop production of the Lockheed Martin F-22) that China would not have an operational stealth aircraft before 2020.

The debut of the J-20 was announced in a November 2009 interview on Chinese TV by Gen. He Weirong, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. The general said a “fourth-generation” fighter (Chinese terminology for a stealth fighter) would be flown in 2010-11 and be operational in 2017-19.

The J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft, bigger and heavier than the Sukhoi T-50 and the F-22. Comparison with ground-service vehicles points to an overall length of 75 ft. and a wingspan of 45 ft. or more, which would suggest a takeoff weight in the 75,000-80,000-lb. class with no external load. That in turn implies a generous internal fuel capacity. The overall length is close to that of the 1960s General Dynamics F-111, which carries 34,000 lb. of fuel.

See also:
China ‘leaks’ sneak peek of first stealth aircraft going for a test run
A Chinese Stealth Challenge?
China Builds J-20 Stealth Fighter Prototype
China’s stealth jet is no cause for alarm: US
Reports Of China’s Stealth Fighter Come As Pentagon Proposes Cuts
‘Stealth’ Chinese Fighter Jet Photos No Accident
China’s J-20 stealth fighter on film
J-20 Stealth Fighter Jet: 5 Facts About China’s New Stealth Plane
China Uncloaks Stealth Fighter Prototype
China’s J-20 fighter conducts taxiing test in Chengdu; photos+
Chinese Stealth Fighter: J-20 Stealth Fighter vs. F-22 Raptor in 2018?

Well, thank God that Obama and Gates canceled the F-22 Raptor program, eh? We have less than 200 of them and we’re not making any more. Now, some may argue that the J-20 is no match for the F-22. However, as history has shown, what the Chinese lack in quality, they more than make up for in quantity.

/although the exact number of simultaneous targets that the F-22 can track is classified, it’s a large number, but it’s still a finite number, and the Chinese are well known for their indifference to casualties in order to achieve an objective