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Showing posts from September 17, 2013

The Future of Russian Space Strategy


Editor's Note: This is the second installment of a two-part series on the evolution of the U.S. and Russian space industries. Click here for Part 1.

International Launch Services, a U.S.-Russian joint venture, is expected to launch a Russian Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in late September or early October, making it the first Proton-M rocket to be launched since one exploded shortly after liftoff in July. The rocket had been scheduled for a launch in mid-September was postponed due to a technical issue. While a successful launch would not remove all concerns surrounding the reliability of the Proton-M and other Russian rockets, another failure could be disastrous.

Over the past few years, Russia's space industry has been plagued by launch failures and other problems due to an overreliance on outdated Soviet technology and quality control shortfalls. Despite this, Russia has emerged as the world's leader in commercial payload launches -- a…

Rebels Furious Over Diplomatic Deal on Syria

BEIRUT — Syrian rebels remain furious over a Russian-brokered deal on Syria’s chemical weapons that has averted U.S. strikes on Damascus, saying the gives President Bashar al-Assad a green light to redouble his bombardments of opposition fighters and civilians.

During the weekend, Assad’s jets and artillery resumed heavy shelling of rebel-held areas outside Damascus. The shelling had been halted when it appeared a U.S. strike was likely.

Rebels aligned with the major Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, say the deal does nothing to halt the indiscriminate air attacks and shelling that have left thousands dead.

Rebels say they doubt the Syria government will abide by the deal.

Opposition activists and civilians in rebel-held strongholds are making home-made gas masks from bottles, surgical cotton and coal dust and are trying to secure supplies of  drugs that can be used as antidotes to nerve agents.

Rebel merger

Partly in response to disappointment over the deal, t…