Feb 9, 2020 - Science

Iran space program fails to put satellite into orbit

Photo: Xinhua/Li Muzi via Getty Images

A rocket launched by Iran's space program on Sunday failed to reach the speed necessary to get its Zafar 1 communications satellite into orbit, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the latest disappointment for a program that the U.S. claims is in violation of a UN security resolution that calls on Iran to refrain from building ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

  • Iran has claimed that it does not seek a nuclear weapon and that its space launches do not have a military component, per AP.
  • Iran had postponed the launch from Saturday after the country faced a large-scale cyberattack. Officials still publicly promoted the launch as a success and promised future successes.

The big picture: This is not the first launch in recent years to end in failure. In August, Trump tweeted a high-resolution image of the aftermath of an explosion at an Iranian space center — claiming, mysteriously, that the U.S. did not play a role in the accident.

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Senate votes to curb Trump's war powers against Iran

Sens. Mike Lee (L) and Bernie Sanders. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Senate voted 55-45 on Thursday in favor of a war powers resolution curbing President Trump's ability to launch military action against Iran without congressional authorization.

Why it matters: It's a bipartisan rebuke of the president's foreign policy that passed even after the White House threatened to veto the resolution.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

SpaceX inks deal to fly space tourists to orbit

NASA astronaut Suni Williams inside a mockup of a Crew Dragon capsule. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX has penned a deal with the space tourism outfit Space Adventures to launch private citizens to orbit aboard the company's Crew Dragon capsule.

Why it matters: SpaceX is building and testing the Crew Dragon to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, but this announcement shows they're thinking about orbital space tourism as a possible driver of revenue for them in the future.

Go deeperArrowFeb 18, 2020 - Science

Scoop: Trump's budget calls for major boost to nukes

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump will request a major increase to the budget for America's nuclear weapons arsenal, according to people familiar with the budget request the administration will unveil on Monday.

By the numbers: Trump's 2021 budget calls for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon to modernize nuclear delivery systems and $19.8 billion to the National Nuclear Security Administration — a nearly 20% increase over his previous budget request — for "modernizing the nuclear weapons stockpile," according to people familiar with the budget request.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy