Russian Rocket Roulette

Less than two months after losing three satellites in the ocean, Russia’s apparently lost yet another one.

Russian satellite feared stranded by rocket mishap

Russia is struggling to contact a military research satellite believed stranded in a low orbit by a rocket failure, according to Russian media reports.

The spacecraft lifted off on a Rockot launch vehicle at 1400 GMT (9 a.m. EST) Tuesday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome about 500 miles north of Moscow.

The two-stage Rockot, a converted ballistic missile, flew north from Plesetsk toward space. A Breeze KM upper stage was supposed to fire twice to propel Russia’s GEO-IK 2 satellite to an orbital altitude of 1,000 kilometers, or more than 600 miles, about 90 minutes after blastoff.

But U.S. military tracking data indicate the rocket is still in an elliptical transfer orbit with a peak altitude of about 650 miles and a low point of 200 miles. Such an orbit might indicate the hydrazine-fueled Breeze KM engine did not ignite for a second time as planned.

Russia’s Novosti news agency quoted Oleg Ostapenko, commander of Russian space troops, as saying the satellite was placed in a bad orbit. Russian controllers are attempting to establish control of the craft, which did not radio back to Earth following launch.

See also:
Russia loses new military satellite
Russians Lose Spy Satellite Hours After Launch
Russian Dual Purpose Geodesic Satellite Lost
Russia loses control of new military satellite
Russia Reportedly Loses Military Satellite
Russia loses contact with newly launched satellite: report
Military Sources: Russia Lost Satellite
Russia loses new satellite in space: Interfax
Anyone Seen a Russian Military Satellite?

And this comes shortly after India lost a satellite last Christmas, when a Russian designed rocket exploded shortly after launch.

/is it just me, or does there seem to be an inordinate number of problems with Russian rocket quality lately?

Advertisements

Melior Diabolus Quem Scies

On top of a Delta 4-Heavy rocket, the largest rocket ever launched from the West Coast, the NRO’s NROL-49 spy satellite is off to orbit on a classified “national security” mission.

Massive Rocket Blasts Off on Probable Spy Mission

The largest rocket ever to blast off from the West Coast launched into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Thursday afternoon.

The most powerful launch rocket in the U.S., the Delta IV Heavy, took off a little after 1 p.m. Pacific Time carrying a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spy satellite called NROL-49.

“This launch marks a significant milestone in our nation’s space capability,” launch director Lt. Col. Brady Hauboldt said in a press release. “We’ve really restored a national capability for heavy lift on the Western Range… This extends our ability to cost-effectively deliver payloads of all sizes and compliments.”

According to the United Launch Alliance (ULA), the organization that is running the launch for NRO, “this launch supports the military’s national defense mission.” However, that’s about all of the information that has been publicly disclosed about the payload.

See also:
First Delta IV Heavy launches from Vandenberg
Vandenberg rocket: largest American rocket blasted off today on West Coast
Launch of giant rocket in Southern California heard for miles
23-story rocket launches U.S. spy satellite
Delta IV rocket launches from Vandenberg
First Delta IV Heavy blasts off from Vandenberg
New Spy Satellite Blasts Off on Secret Mission
Vandenberg launches Delta IV Heavy rocket
California: Rocket Launches With Secret Payload
Secret payload launched on largest West Coast rocket
Boeing: Delta – Delta IV Launch Vehicles
Delta IV
Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg Air Force Base
National Reconnaissance Office
National Reconnaissance Office

And, that’s about it. Except that it’s supposedly an imaging satellite, there’s not much use in speculating further. I’m just happy that it made it to orbit safely, our taxpayer dollars much better spent than on Obamacare.

/pretty pictures, NROL-49

All Your Internet Are Belong To China For 18 Minutes

Well, this is certainly disconcerting news.

Cyber Experts Have Proof That China Has Hijacked U.S.-Based Internet Traffic

For 18 minutes in April, China’s state-controlled telecommunications company hijacked 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic, including data from U.S. military, civilian organizations and those of other U.S. allies.

This massive redirection of data has received scant attention in the mainstream media because the mechanics of how the hijacking was carried out and the implications of the incident are difficult for those outside the cybersecurity community to grasp, said a top security expert at McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated Internet security company.

In short, the Chinese could have carried out eavesdropping on unprotected communications — including emails and instant messaging — manipulated data passing through their country or decrypted messages, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee said.

Nobody outside of China can say, at least publicly, what happened to the terabytes of data after the traffic entered China.

The incident may receive more attention when the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional committee, releases its annual report on the bilateral relationship Nov. 17. A commission press release said the 2010 report will address “the increasingly sophisticated nature of malicious computer activity associated with China.”

Said Alperovitch: “This is one of the biggest — if not the biggest hijacks — we have ever seen.” And it could happen again, anywhere and anytime. It’s just the way the Internet works, he explained. “What happened to the traffic while it was in China? No one knows.”

See also:
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
Release of 2010 Annual Report to Congress

Report: China hijacked U.S. Internet data
Internet Traffic from U.S. Government Websites Was Redirected Via Chinese Servers
Internet traffic was routed via Chinese servers
15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic was hijacked to China, in April
Worldwide Internet Security Breach Points to China
15 Percent of Internet Traffic Was Redirected Through Chinese Servers, Report
China Hijacked 15% of US Internet Traffic-and no one noticed
China hijacks 15% of internet, inluding military data
Internet Traffic from U.S. Government Websites Was Reportedly Routed Via Chinese Servers

It’s just another episode in China’s ongoing undeclared covert war against the United States and other Western countries. Hopefully, we’re fighting back.

/one thing’s for sure, China is not our friend

A WikiLeak Too Far?

Why do I get the feeling that this won’t end well for Julian Assange and his motley crew of information pirates?

WikiLeaks: Is Russia the Next Target?

Say what you will about Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, but his work has shown him to be pretty fearless. After his site published the biggest cache of secret files in U.S. history on Oct. 22, detailing some of the ugly truths about the war in Iraq, he continued to travel around Europe despite U.S. reprimands and warnings. He even told the global media that new leaks will expose more secrets not only about the U.S. military but about other “repressive regimes,” such as Russia and China. The signals coming from Moscow, however, suggest that the Russian reaction will not be as reserved as America’s. So is WikiLeaks really ready to take on the world’s more callous states?

It’s certainly talking the talk. In an interview published on Tuesday in Russia’s leading daily newspaper Kommersant, WikiKeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said that “Russian readers will learn a lot about their country” after one of the site’s upcoming document dumps. “We want to tell people the truth about the actions of their governments.” (See the top 10 leaks in history.)

So far Russia has had no official response. But on Wednesday, an official at the Center for Information Security of the FSB, Russia’s secret police, gave a warning to WikiLeaks that showed none of the tact of the U.S. reply to the Iraq revelations. “It’s essential to remember that given the will and the relevant orders, [WikiLeaks] can be made inaccessible forever,” the anonymous official told the independent Russian news website LifeNews.

See also:
Wikileaks vs. the FSB
WikiLeaks to publish classified documents from Russia, China
WikiLeaks to release secret Russia, China logs – paper
WikiLeaks Has Something to Tell the World About Russia
WikiLeaks to post Russian, Chinese files
WikiLeaks ready to drop a bombshell on Russia. But will Russians get to read about it?
Wikileaks to leak China and Russia’s secret documents
Wikileaks admits it has material on Russia
Has WikiLeaks landed in cyberattack crosshairs?

Unlike the United States, it sounds like Russia isn’t about to let any attempt to leak their classified documents go unpunished.

/R.I.P. Julian Assange, enjoy your self inflicted death wish

Confirmed Sniper On The Loose

Here we go again. It’s a sure bet that whoever’s doing these shootings won’t stop until they get caught.

FBI Links 3 Military Shootings in DC Area

The FBI has confirmed all three military related shootings in the Washington D.C. area are connected, saying Thursday ballistic evidence shows the same weapon was used at each site.

The latest shooting occurred at a vacant Marine recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

In the early morning hours of October 19 police and FBI investigators responded in force when six shots were fired into the south side of the Pentagon, leaving bullets embedded in two different windows. Just two days earlier police in Quantico, Virginia responded to a similar attack on the Marine Corps Museum, where bullets were also fired at windows in the early morning hours.

At the time of the Pentagon shooting police said the weapon used was believed to be a high-powered rifle.

So far the FBI has yet to identify any suspects and no one has been injured in any of the attacks. An investigation is being headed up by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

See also:
FBI: Same Gun Shot at 3 D.C. Military Buildings
Tests Show the Same Weapon Used in 3 Shootings, Including Pentagon
FBI links shooting at recruiting center to 2 others
Shootings at Pentagon, Marine museum, recruiting station linked
Mysteries abound in shootings of D.C.-area military buildings
FBI: Same Gun Used In Military-Related Shootings
3rd shooting at military building linked
FBI links shots fired at Pentagon, Marine museum
Recent shootings raise concerns about Marine Corps Marathon
Security heightened for Marine Corps Marathon

Obviously, whoever it is doesn’t like the U.S. military, or at least their buildings. Let’s just hope our mystery sniper(s) don’t graduate to shooting at people, although, at this point, that wouldn’t be much of a leap. It’ll be interesting to see who law enforcement eventually catch.

/not to speculate or anything, but the last D.C. snipers were arguably Muslim jihadis and certainly terrorists, just sayin’

The Mask Falls Off

It’s official. Obama hates the military and he’s not even trying to hide it anymore.

Obama’s War With the Pentagon

James Jones is out as national security adviser; Tom Donilon is in. What does it mean? Among other things, that we may be headed for one of the greatest civilian-military showdowns in decades.

If you haven’t read Bob Woodward or Jonathan Alter’s accounts of Obama administration Afghan policy, here are the CliffsNotes: Since the moment Obama took office, the military, led by David Petraeus, has been pushing for a full-on counterinsurgency effort. In other words, a lot of troops for a very long time. Obama, from the start, has resisted, raising awkward questions about why we’re expending massive amounts of blood and treasure in Afghanistan when Pakistan is the country that really matters. Vice President Biden has gone further, warning that given the mind-boggling corruption of Hamid Karzai’s regime, committing to an Afghan counterinsurgency war would be lunacy.

This policy struggle has not been waged according to the Marquis of Queensbury rules. The White House believes the military brass is blind to America’s crushing financial constraints and the public’s eroding support for the war. The military believes the White House cares more about domestic politics than national security. The White House believes the military keeps screwing the president by telling reporters and Republicans that we need more troops for a longer time, thus forcing Obama’s hand.

General Jones was chosen, in part, because Obama knew this fight was coming. He wanted someone who could communicate with the generals and keep them from knifing him in the back. Jones didn’t entirely succeed in that effort, which is one reason people in the White House never embraced him as one of their own. But if Jones was unable or unwilling to extinguish the flames of civil-military conflict, Donilon is the political equivalent of dousing them with gasoline.

See also:
Commander-in-Chief Obama Fights Pentagon
Tom Donilon’s Revolving Door
Departing National Security Adviser Leaves Mixed Reviews
A Political Hack and Fannie Mae Democrat
Hope is not a strategy: James Jones
10 reasons to be worried as Tom Donilon, Afghan war sceptic & desk-bound foe of US military, gets top foreign policy job
The declinists win
Gates in 2010: Donilon Would Be a “disaster” as National Security Adviser; Jones: Donilon Has “No Credibility With the Military”
Woodward: Gates Thinks Donilon A “Disaster”
Gates downplays quoted objection to Obama adviser

This move proves that if Obama could snap his fingers and eliminate the U.S. military, he would do so without hesitation.

/this does not bode well for our brave troops in harm’s way, fighting the Taliban is hard enough, they shouldn’t also have to fight their commander in chief

Should Be Dead Man Still Walking And Talking

Why is Julian Assange still even alive at this point, let alone walking around free and giving interviews?

Pentagon pleads with Wikileaks not to release more files

The Pentagon is trying to persuade the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks to abandon its planned release of 15,000 more classified files on the Afghan war.

Intelligence analysts have now identified which files are involved and Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell says their release will be even more damaging to national security and the war effort than the thousands already published.

“We are concerned the additional documents they have may cause even greater risks than the ones they released previously,” said Mr Morrell.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned that the release will put American and allied soldiers at risk with “potentially very severe” consequences.

He says that the documents “convey a huge amount of information about our tactics, techniques and procedures” and may be of great help to both the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Last month WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – a former computer hacker – released 76,000 secret military files that the US government claims threaten the lives of Afghan civilians who have co-operated with US and Nato forces.

Joining a growing chorus of condemnation, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that any new release of files would help the enemy.

A new poll shows that 61 per cent of Americans consider the release to be an act of treason.

Reporters Without Borders – guardians of international press freedom – have accused Mr Assange of “incredible irresponsibility.”

Clothilde Le Coz, the group’s spokesperson, said Mr Assange and WikiLeaks were “going way too far” and putting lives in danger.

See also:
WikiLeaks says it won’t be threatened by Pentagon
Wikleaks will release 15,000 more secret documents about war in Afghanistan, despite Pentagon orders
WikiLeaks Says More Afghan War Documents To Be Released Soon
WikiLeaks: Rest of war documents to be released in a few weeks
Pentagon: Undisclosed Wikileaks documents ‘potentially more explosive’
Support for WikiLeaks Evaporates as New Release of War Documents Looms
Time for Obama to shut down WikiLeaks’ Assange
Reporters Without Borders: WikiLeaks Was Reckless
Reporters Without Borders Blasts Wikileaks
WikiLeaks to Publish More Secrets With Some Data Removed
Wikileaks
Wikileaks

Are you seriously telling me that all the combined resources of the United States military and intelligence services can’t hunt down Julian Assange and his co-conspirators, recover the stolen information, and shut down their internet presence?

/Assange has clearly demonstrated that he’s an enemy of the United States with fresh blood on his hands, he has the right to be disappeared and remain permanently silent