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Russia

Oops! Russia Loses Two Multi-Million Dollar Satellites

REUTERS, RIA NOVOSTI,ROSCOSMOS (Russian Federation)

Worldcrunch

MOSCOW – Russia’s Proton rocket failed to bring two satellites into orbit after the launch late on Monday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said.

Although the launch itself was a success (see video below), the rocket -- carrying two multi-million dollar satellites that were to provide Indonesia and Russia with telecom services – lost contact with said satellites before it was able to bring them to their designated orbit.

Preliminary inquiry shows the failure may be due to untimely maneuvers performed by the rocket’s Briz-M booster.

Human error may be behind the mishap, a space expert told RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity; the Russian news agency added that according to a space industry source, the booster had become a potentially hazardous piece of space junk.

Launches of Proton rockets with Briz boosters will most likely be suspended until experts can determine the exact cause of the failure.

Moscow, which carries out some 40 percent of global space launches, is struggling to restore confidence in its space industry after a string of mishaps last year, including the failure of a mission to return samples from the Martian moon Phobos, Reuters reports.

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Geopolitics

How A Drone Strike Inside Iran Exposes The Regime's Vulnerability — On All Fronts

It is still not clear what was the exact target of an attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory in central Iran. But it comes as Tehran authorities appear increasingly vulnerable to both its foreign and domestic enemies, with more attacks increasingly likely.

Screenshot of one of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

One of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

Screenshot
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — It's the kind of incident that momentarily reveals the shadow wars that are part of the Middle East. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory complex north of Isfahan in central Iran.

But the explosion was so strong that it set off a small earthquake. Iranian authorities have played down the damage, as we might expect, and claim to have shot down the drones.

Nevertheless, three armed drones reaching the center of Iran, buzzing right up to weapons factories, is anything but ordinary in light of recent events. Iran is at the crossroads of several crises: from the war in Ukraine where it's been supplying drones to Russia to its nuclear development arriving at the moment of truth; from regional wars of influence to the anti-government uprising of Iranian youth.

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That leaves us spoiled for choice when it comes to possible interpretations of this act of war against Iran, which likely is a precursor to plenty of others to follow.

Iranian authorities, in their comments, blame the United States and Israel for the aggression. These are the two usual suspects for Tehran, and it is not surprising that they are at the top of the list.

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