Tag Archives: space

Pak-China to cooperate in space as part of Karamay declaration

By APP

PESHAWAR: The Chinese government has agreed to a proposal by the Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, initiating the collaboration between Pakistan and China in space technology as part of the Karamay declaration under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

At the Pakistan-China forum meeting held in Karamay-Xinjiang last week, Ahsan Iqbal, proposed space technology collaboration between China and Pakistan, an official of the forum told APP.

His proposal was approved and made a part of the Karamay-Xinjiang Declaration. The declaration was later approved unanimously after the two-day meeting.

At the concluding session, Ahsan Iqbal said that bilateral collaboration on space technology would take Pakistan-China relations to new heights. He stressed upon a joint launch of space missions which would consist of astronauts from both countries.

Continue reading Pak-China to cooperate in space as part of Karamay declaration

It’s On: Asia’s New Space Race

While NASA and the European Space Agency gets most of the world’s attention, China, Japan and India are racing for the heavens.

The general public in the West largely views the exploration of space as dominated by the United States and perhaps Russia. Sometimes, as in the case of the Rosettamission, they may give thought to Europe’s capabilities. Few people think of India when it comes to missions to Mars, but popular joy erupted across India in September 2014 after its Mangalyaan scientific spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around the red planet. One Indian reader responded to the story on a major online news outlet by posting: “It is [a] moment of pride as India becomes [the] 1stAsian nation to reach Mars.” And understood to all Indian readers was the point that China had—after a series of Asian firsts in space—finally been surpassed.Since China’s first human spaceflight in 2003 and its threatening anti-satellite test in 2007, Asia has seen a surge in space activity, with budgets increasing rapidly across the region. While few officials admit to the term, a “space race” is emerging in Asia.

The surge of Asian countries joining the ranks of major space powers mirrors the rise of Asian economies and their militaries more generally since the end of the Cold War. But following the political drivers of these trends leads most often to regional rivalries, not a desire to compete with the United States or Russia. Being first in Asia to do anything in space brings prestige, lends credibility to governments in power, and helps stimulate Asia’s young population to study science and technology, which has other benefits for their national economies.

The responses to China’s rise have included the sudden development of military space programs by two countries that previously shunned such activities—Japan and India—and dynamic new activities in countries ranging from Australia to Singapore to Vietnam. On the Korean Peninsula, both North and South have orbited satellites in the past three years and both have pledged to develop much larger rockets. Many of these countries realize that they can’t “win” Asia’s space race, but they also know that they cannot afford to lose.

China’s rapid expansion in space activity has also raised serious concerns within U.S. military circles and in NASA. But these developments pose an existential threat to China’s neighbors, some of whom see Beijing’s space program as yet another threatening dimension to their deep-seated historical, economic, and geo-political rivalries for status and influence within the Asian pecking order. Even more, space achievements affect the self-perceptions of their national populations, challenging their governments to do more.

How this competition will play out and whether it can be managed, or channeled into more positive directions, will have a major impact on the future of international relations in space. The U.S. government has thus far responded with a two-track strategy, seeking a bilateral space security dialogue with Beijing, while quietly expanding space partnerships with U.S. friends and allies in the region, adding a space dimension to the U.S. “pivot” to Asia.

Read more » The Daily Beast
See more » http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/17/why-china-will-win-the-next-space-race.html

India launches largest rocket and unmanned capsule

India launches largest rocket and unmanned capsule

India has successfully launched its largest rocket and an unmanned capsule which could send astronauts into space.

The 630-tonne Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (MK III) blasted off from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday morning.

The new rocket will be able to carry heavier satellites into space.

India has successfully launched lighter satellites in recent years, but has faced problems sending up heavier payloads.

The new rocket is capable of carrying communication satellites weighing 4,000kg, reports say, meaning India will not have to rely on foreign launchers to do so.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted after the launch: “Successful launch of GSLV MK-III is yet another triumph of brilliance & hard work of our scientists. Congrats to them for the efforts.”

K Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization (Isro), said the launch marked a “very significant day in India’s space history”.

The rocket’s main cargo was an Indian-made capsule capable of carrying two to three astronauts into space.

Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30527602

Metro Bus or Mars: The problem with our priorities

By Bilal Karim Mughal

1969 was the year, when the United States succeeded in landing humans on the moon – our closest neighbour in space – and safely bringing them back to Earth.

The United States, being the most technologically advanced country on Earth, put that feather in its hat about 45 years ago.

What was the condition of India and Pakistan at that time? The two countries had already fought two battles, and were about to plunge into another one in 1971.

While the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was established in 1969, the same year when humans set foot on the moon, Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was established in 1961 – eight years before its Indian counterpart.

Explore: Space: Above and Beyond

SUPARCO was set up by the most famous of all Pakistani scientists and the country’s only Nobel Laureate: Dr Abdus Salam.

Dr Salam had advised Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, then President of Pakistan to establish a Space Sciences Research Wing within Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. This later turned into SUPARCO in 1964.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1134488

Hundreds of tiny satellites could soon deliver free internet worldwide

Developers say they are less than a year away from deploying prototype satellites that could someday soon broadcast free and universal internet all over the globe from high in orbit.

The “Outernet” project being bankrolled by the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) of New York is currently in the midst of conducting technical assessment of the project, but say by June they hope to develop test satellite in order to see how long-range WiFi would work if beamed down by a tiny 10x10x10-centimeter payload called a CubeSat.

If all goes as planned, a test CubeSat will be sent into orbit next January, and within a few years there could be hundreds of similar devices circling the Earth and sending back down internet signals. Once that is accomplished, countries that largely censor the web — like China and North Korea — would be hard-pressed to restrict internet access without also going into orbit.

“We exist to support the flow of independent news, information, and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies,” MDIF President Peter Whitehead told the National Journal recently. “It enables fuller participation in public life, holds the powerful to account and protects the rights of the individual.”

Read more » rt.com
http://rt.com/usa/outernet-cubesat-free-internet-153/

Soros To Fund Free Wi-fi From Space – Blasting Whole Planet

‘You might think you have to pay through the nose at the moment to access the Internet.

But one ambitious organisation called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is planning to turn the age of online computing on its head by giving free web access to every person on Earth. Known as Outernet, MDIF plans to launch hundreds of satellites into orbit by 2015.

And they say the project could provide unrestricted Internet access to countries where their web access is censored, including China and North Korea.’

Courtesy: davidicke
http://www.davidicke.com/headlines/soros-to-fund-free-wi-fi-from-space-blasting-whole-planet/

India Ready To Launch First Mars Mission

By Ryan W. Neal, International Business Times

India has begun a countdown towards the launch of its first spacecraft bound for Mars. The Indian Space Research Organization will launch a Mars Orbiter Mission probe named Mangalyaan in the next few weeks.

Mangalyaan recently arrived at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota and will be loaded onto a launch vehicle that is just about ready for takeoff. Mangalyaan will orbit Mars and take photographs of the Martian surface and search for signs of methane in the Mars atmosphere. An array of senors aboard Mangalyaan will explore morphology and mineralogy of the Mars surface.

The Indian mission to Mars has a launch window between Oct. 28 and Nov. 19, which will get Mangalyaan to Mars in September 2014. It will orbit Mars for about six to 10 months.

If successful, India will become just the fourth nation to reach mars, along with the former Soviet Union, Europe and the US. Japan and China have both attempted Mars missions and failed.

The mission will cap off a successful year for ISRO. In 2013, India debuted environmental and communications satellites and a successful unmanned mission to the moon.

Mangalyaan will be joined by NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbital probe. Representatives of NASA told Space.com that having a diverse set of vantage points and sensors will contribute to a more complete understanding of the Martian geology and climate.

Courtesy: http://socialreader.com/me/content/U6xgl

First Tests For Fusion-Powered Spaceship Propulsion Successful

By Mark Hoffman

University of Washington researchers and scientists at a Redmond-based space-propulsion company are currently building components of a fusion-powered rocket, which could enable astronauts to travel to Earth’s neighboring planet Mars within weeks instead of months, at speeds considerably faster than feasible until now. The current travel speeds using fuel rockets make Mars travel a journey of about four years but the new fusion technology being tested by researchers at the University of Washington promises that in 30 to 90 days.

The lab tests have proven to be successful on each part of the process and the scientists are now planning to combine the sections into a one final and overall test.

“Using existing rocket fuels, it’s nearly impossible for humans to explore much beyond Earth,” said lead researcher John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics. “We are hoping to give us a much more powerful source of energy in space that could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace.”

The team has developed a technology using a special type of plasma that will be encased in a magnetic field. When the plasma is compressed with high pressure by the magnetic field, nuclear fusion takes place.

Continue reading First Tests For Fusion-Powered Spaceship Propulsion Successful

On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

Welcome to 1984

By Irfan Husain

OVER the years, despite repeated bouts of military dictatorship, Pakistan has remained a relatively open society. Even with spooks running around unchecked, people have expressed themselves pretty openly, both privately and publicly.

In large measure, this has been due to the incompetence of our bureaucracy. Few cops and spies are very enthusiastic about surveillance duties. More often than not, they file their poorly written reports that go unread, and pile up in some dusty government archives, never to see the light of day.

But all this is about to change. According to an international tender floated by this government, it is aiming to acquire technology that will enable it not just to block websites at will, but to read our emails and monitor all Internet traffic.

Continue reading On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

Drones & Ababeels

Declaring sanity

by Nadeem F. Paracha

In March 2010 animated conspiracy theorist, TV personality and poster-boy for stylised sofa-warming-jihad, Zaid Hamid finally met his nemesis at the Peshawar University.

Hamid, who till then, had been enjoying a virtual free run on certain TV channels and on privately-owned campuses, was chased away by large sections of the audience that turned up to listen to him speak at the state-owned Peshawar University.

As Hamid’s speech began being booed at, Hamid made a quick exit from the premises only to face another crowd of students outside who shouted slogans against him, and pelted his car with stones.

Suddenly a man who was lovingly being courted by TV channels and student bodies and administration of private educational institutions, was angrily courted out by the students of a state-owned university.

Continue reading Drones & Ababeels

BEYOND THE SACRED

I gave a talk called ‘Beyond the sacred’, on the changing character of ideas of the sacred and of blasphemy, at a conference on blasphemy organised this weekend by the Centre for Inquiry at London’s Conway Hall on Saturday. Here is a transcript. To talk about blasphemy is also to talk about the idea of the sacred. To see something as blasphemous is to see it in some way as violating a sacred space. In recent years, both the notion of blasphemy and that of the sacred have transformed. What I want to explore here is the nature of that transformation, and what it means for free speech.

For believers, the idea of the sacred is key to moral life. ….

Read more » Kenan Malik

Pakistan says U.S. drones in its air space will be shot down

By NBC News, msnbc.com staff and news service reports

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan will shoot down any U.S. drone that intrudes its air space per new directives, a senior Pakistani official told NBC News on Saturday.

According to the new Pakistani defense policy, “Any object entering into our air space, including U.S. drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,” a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News.

The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all U.S. personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan.

Pakistan told the U.S. to vacate Shamsi Air Base by December 11.

A senior military official from Quetta, Pakistan, confirmed to NBC News on Saturday that the evacuation of the base, used for staging classified drone flights directed against militants, “will be completed tomorrow,” according to NBC’s Fakhar ur Rehman.

Pakistan’s Frontier Corps security forces took control of the base Saturday evening after most U.S. military personnel left, Xinhua news agency reported. Civil aviation officials also moved in Saturday, Xinhua said.

Read more » MSNBC

Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

To counter the emergence of fundamentalism in Pakistan, the ruling classes as well as intellectuals are advocating the revival of sufism. However, it is evident that ideas and the system cannot be revived because fundamentalism is a product of a certain time and space and fulfills the needs of that age.

Secondly, the very idea of revivalism indicates intellectual bankruptcy and lethargy of our intellectuals who are either not ready or do not have the capacity to understand the very phenomenon of religious extremism and its advent as a result of social, economic and political changes in society. A number of myths are associated with sufis. One of the arguments being that they converted non-Muslims and are responsible for the spread of Islam through the subcontinent. To portray them as missionaries discredits them as an impartial community. To convert someone means that they initially did not believe in the truthfulness of other religions. If this view is correct, it does not explain how they could create goodwill among people belonging to different religions.

Continue reading Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement

The Guys in the 1% Brought This On

By Barbara Ehrenreich

Excerpt;

…. So the “99% versus the 1%” theme is beginning to look like an acute class analysis after all, and it’s the guys in the 1% who made it so. Over the years, they have systematically hollowed out the space around them: destroying the industrial working class with the outsourcings and plant closures of the ’80s, turning on white collar managers in the downsizing wave of the ’90s, clearing large swathes of the middle class with the credit schemes of the ’00’s—the trick mortgages and till-death-do-we-part student loans.

In the ’60s we dreamed of uniting people of all races and collar colors into “one big working class.” But it took the billionaires to make it happen.

Read more » The Progressive

Is Pakistan collapsing – by S Akbar Zaidi

This presence of Osama bin Laden led to an extraordinary event of US SEAL military officers “invading” Pakistan, violating its air space, carrying out a military operation for 40 minutes and killing the most wanted terrorist and flying back to Afghanistan.

From drone attacks to constant admonishing by the Obama administration, to a weak economy, an insurgency and target-killing of the non-Baloch in Balochistan, and a weekly dose of suicide attacks on common people, all support a perception that Pakistan is collapsing. However, this conventional understanding may not be accurate. What these events suggest is that there is a growing crisis and contradiction within and between the institutions of the state in Pakistan and these crises and contradictions, evaluated differently, might offer a completely divergent narrative. What may be collapsing is the political settlement that has existed for many decades and this may be a positive development. Democractic forces have an opportunity now to end the military’s domination of Pakistan. …

Read more: View Point

Men should be allowed sex slaves and female prisoners could do the job – and all this from a WOMAN politician from Kuwait

– By Daily Mail Reporter

A Kuwaiti woman who once ran for parliament has called for sex slavery to be legalised – and suggested that non-Muslim prisoners from war-torn countries would make suitable concubines.

Salwa al Mutairi argued buying a sex-slave would protect decent, devout and ‘virile’ Kuwaiti men from adultery because buying an imported sex partner would be tantamount to marriage.

And she even had an idea of where to ‘purchase’ these sex-salves – browsing through female prisoners of war in other countries.

The political activist and TV host even suggested that it would be a better life for women in warring countries as the might die of starvation.

Mutairi claimed: ‘There was no shame in it and it is not haram’ (forbidden) under Islamic Sharia law.’

She gave the example of Haroun al-Rashid, an 8th century Muslim leader who ruled over an area covered by modern-day Iran, Iraq and Syria and was rumoured to have 2,000 concubines.

Mutairi recommended that offices could be opened to run the sex trade in the same way that recruitment agencies provide housemaids.

She suggested shopping for prisoners of war so as to protect Kuwaiti men from being tempted to commit adultery or being seduced by other women’s beauty.

‘For example, in the Chechnyan war, surely there are female Russian captives,’ she said.

‘So go and buy those and sell them here in Kuwait. Better than to have our men engage in forbidden sexual relations.’

Her unbelievable argument for her plan was that ‘captives’ might ‘just die of hunger over there’.

She insisted, ‘I don’t see any problem in this, no problem at all’.

In an attempt to consider the woman’s feelings in the arrangement, Mutari conceded that the enslaved women, however, should be at least 15.

Mutairi said free women must be married with a contract but with concubines ‘the man just buys her and that’s it. That’s enough to serve as marriage.’

Her remarks, made in a video posted on YouTube last month and carried by newspapers in the Gulf states in recent days, have sparked outrage in cyber-space from fellow Kuwaitis and others in the wider region.

‘Wonder how Salwa al Mutairi would’ve felt if during the occupation (of Kuwait) by Iraqi forces, she was sold as ‘war booty’ as she advocates for Chechen women,’ tweeted Mona Eltahawy.

Another tweeter, Shireen Qudosi, told Mutairi ‘you’re a disgrace to women everywhere’.

For Muna Khan, an editor at the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television station, the ‘icing on the cake’ of Mutairi’s ‘preposterous views’ was her assertion that her suggestions do not conflict with the tenets of Islam.

Mutairi said that during a recent visit to Mecca, she asked Saudi muftis – Muslim religious scholars – what the Islamic ruling was on owning sex slaves. They are said to have told her that it is not haram.

The ruling was confirmed by ‘specialized people of the faith’ in Kuwait, she claimed.

‘They said, that’s right, the only solution for a decent man who has the means, who is overpowered by desire and who does not want to commit fornication, is to acquire jawari.’ Jawari is the plural of the Arabic term jariya, meaning ‘concubine’ or ‘sex slave’.

One Saudi mufti supposedly told Mutairi: ‘The context must be that of a Muslim nation conquering a non-Muslim nation, so these jawari have to be prisoners of war.’

Concubines, she argued, would suit Muslim men who fear being ‘seduced or tempted into immoral behaviour by the beauty of their female servants’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000292/Men-allowed-sex-slaves-female-prisoners-job–WOMAN-politician-Kuwait.html#ixzz1Ossvr7bB