USA, China Led World in Launches in 2016

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-6 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41. (Credit: ULA)
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-6 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41. (Credit: ULA)

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The United States and China led the world in orbital launch attempts in 2016 with 22 apiece. The combined 44 launches made up more than half of the 85 flights conducted around the world.

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North Korea Fires 7 Ballistic Missiles, Defying U.N. Ban

Defying U.S., North Korea Fires Barrage of Missiles
The New York Times

North Korea fired a barrage of seven ballistic missiles into the sea between the Communist state and Japan on Saturday in a move that flouted a United Nations Security Council resolution and sent a message of defiance to the United States on its Independence Day holiday.

After a nuclear test by North Korea on May 25, the Security Council adopted a resolution that, among other things, barred the country from testing ballistic missiles. North Korea sharpened its standoff with Washington on Saturday by following through on part of its earlier warnings that it would respond to the resolution and sanctions with more tests of its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

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Report: North Korean ICBM Base is Operational

The Associated Press is reporting that the world’s strangest regime is continuing its march toward becoming a missile power:

Fresh commercial satellite images show that North Korea’s sophisticated new missile base on its west coast — designed for multiple test flights in a short time — is ready for use, according to an independent analyst.

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North Korean Rocket More Sophisticated, Flew Further Than Thought

North Korean rocket flew further than earlier thought
Spaceflight Now

New details emerging from the analysis of data from North Korea’s April 5 Taepo-Dong-2 test indicate the vehicle flew successfully several hundred miles further than previously believed and used more advanced steering than has been demonstrated by the North Korean’s before.

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South Korea Lagging Behind North in Rocketry

Seoul lags N.K. in rocket technology
The Korea Herald

South Korea’s Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, which is slated to carry an experimental satellite into orbit in late July, is expected to have a much shorter range of 2,750 kilometers. The KSLV-1 rocket is being jointly developed by Russia’s Khrunichev State Space Science and Production Center and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

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ASATs and Ballistic Missile Technology

The Space Review has a couple of stories about the military uses of space:

How should we secure our space-based assets as a nation?
The White House has proposed negotiating a ban on space weapons, even though there is uncertainty about exactly what would be considered such a device. Christopher Stone argues that other measures can be taken to better protect the safety and security of space assets.

North Korea proves the point: ICBMs are proliferating
This weekend’s launch of a North Korean rocket was supposedly intended to put a satellite into orbit, but many observers considered it a test of a long-range missile. Taylor Dinerman opines on the implications of this launch.

Russia Urges North Korea Against Launch

Russia urges N. Korea against rocket launch plans
Novosti

A deputy Russian foreign minister has joined international criticism of North Korea’s planned launch of a rocket, cautioning the reclusive-communist country on Friday against increasing tensions in the region.

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North Korea Loads Rocket onto Launch Pad for April Test

US: North Korea loading rocket on launch pad
Associated Press

North Korea is loading a Taepodong rocket on its east coast launch pad in anticipation of the launch of a communications satellite early next month, U.S. officials say. U.S. counterproliferation and intelligence officials have confirmed Japanese news reports of the expected launch between April 4 and 8.

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North Korean Launch Set for Early April

NKorea to launch satellite in early April: IMO
AFP

North Korea has announced it will launch a satellite early next month, the International Maritime Organisation said Thursday, as Washington and Seoul told Pyongyang to scrap what they see as a disguised missile test and the UN expressed concern.

Pyongyang has advised the IMO of the launch at some time between April 4-8, IMO spokesman Lee Adamson told AFP from London.

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