Last week, Iran conducted a failed space launch. Iran is now getting ready to try again. @DaveSchmerler and I worked it all out with open sources, then @ZcohenCNN got the Pentagon to confirm it. A short OSINT thread. 1/10
Last week, @DaveSchmerler noticed that a June 6 image of the Imam Khomeini Spaceport from @Maxar showed indicators that are normally associated with space launches in Iran. These are the same signatures that we used to predict previous space launches. 2/10
One of those signatures is a lot of vehicles showing up at the horizontal checkout building. On June 6, there were more than a dozen vehicles there -- something that only happens before space launches. 3/10
I basically agree with this back-and-forth about why Israel would want to prevent a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program even though the sabotage campaign cannot reasonably be expected to prevent Iran from ultimately building nuclear weapons if it chooses.
As one colleague admitted pre-JCPOA: He was against a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem because fear of Iran's nuclear weapons program was the most effective issue around which to organize a campaign to isolate the Islamic Republic.
He wanted sanctions because he loathed the regime and wanted it removed. He was frank about his goal and clear-eyed about his strategy: Other countries would not support sanctions for Iran's other malign behaviors, only for the nuclear issue. So, you go with your best argument.
The place to start is by noting that Biden's people have started repeating a Trump-era formulation: "The denuclearization of North Korea." I've seen in the #Quad statement, as well as the bilat with Japan.
Here is the problem with this phrase. What Kim said was "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Same phrase used since Kim Il Sung and what it means is that the US needs to stop threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons, not that he will disarm. nytimes.com/2018/04/04/opi…
Problem 1: The story could not have occurred on the timeline that McKenzie describes. There is a big time gap between when a picture is taken ("collection time") and when the image is available to customers ("delivery time").
The image has to go from the satellite, to a ground station, then to the company, and finally to the customer. In reality, only a very small number of commercial satellite imagery providers like @planet offer images on anything like the timeline implied by McKenzie.
This is a fairly tepid "rebuttal" to the @UCSUSA study on hypersonic gliders. What I find most notable is that it largely concedes the technical objections in the paper. Allow me to translate the summary bullet points. breakingdefense.com/2021/02/pentag…
"Ok, all the gliders we've actually made sucked but, and trust me on this, we are right now imagining gliders that do not suck."
"Ok, ok. The gliders we are imagining are slower and less reliable than ICBMs but have you considered the possibility that our glider could bank gently away from an interceptor with a burnout speed in excess of 3 kilometers per second?"
Listen, there has been a simple pattern for my entire lifetime. When Nixon and Ford issued presidential directives, they we called National Security Decision Memoranda or NSDMs.
When Carter took office, he renamed those documents "Presidential Directives." This kicked off a process in which Republican and Democratic Presidents used different naming conventions for presidential directives. It was childish, sure. But so what?
The short version: North Korea keeps a launch barge at Nampo for testing submarine-launched ballistic missiles. It hasn't moved for more than two years -- until now. It is currently on land, undergoing what appears to be a refit, presumably for a coming round of SLBM tests.
Here's a fun rabbit hole I fell into. Why are some solid-rocket motors tested horizontally, while others are tested vertically. I had wondered about this a long time.
The answer is that there was no clear consensus which was better. In the 1980s, Thiokol, maker of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor (SRM), preferred horizontal tests. United Technologies, maker of the Titan SRM, tested vertically, nozzle-up.
After the Challenger accident, this difference in approach turned into a public spat -- as you can see from these ¶s from "Shuttle Booster Design Couldn't pass Titan Test" in the Orlando Sentinel on April 6, 1986.
What follows are many deleted retweets from @LGordonHagerty, which is apparently personal account of outgoing @LGHNNSA -- courtesy of the @internetarchive. These were things others said rhat she retweeted, then deleted.
You have to click through to see the original tweets -- which, again, she was retweeting. You tell me if you want this person overseeing the nation's nuclear stockpile.
North Korea's new ICBM is much larger than the Hwasong-15 ICBM (~2 m in diameter). Here are two stills from the parade that help illustrate the difference.
The truck ("transporter-erector-launcher" or TEL) is new. In December, @kyodo_english reported that Kim "ordered the mass production of vehicles used for transporting and launching missiles including [ICBMs]" using imported parts. Looks like it worked. english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/12/9…
I see the @THEHermanCain account is being upbeat about Trump's health. The tweets this account issued about Herman Cain's illness are a useful reference point, both describing one person's course of treatment, as well as public messaging about it. Thread.
The object is a Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS) rigged up like the one used for the ground-launched Tomahawk missile test flight to >500 km in August 2019. There is a placard with images of that test just to make sure you get the message.
I mentioned to @fab_hinz that the ground around it had changed very dramatically in recent years. He thought it was surrounded by ... rubbish. Then, he looked at the @NASA fire map of the area. Someone does a lot of burning there.
Fabian then checked other fire clusters in Saudi Arabia. And, at 24.629992, 38.440374°, he found a very similar building. The other building is a waste incineration plant.