Wednesday October 17, 2018
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Russia intends to build military base in Syria, claims US

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Washington: Russia’s recent military build-up in Syria indicated that it intended to create a military base in Syria, the Pentagon said.

“We have seen indications in recent days that Russia has moved people and things into the area around Latakia (Syria’s coastal province) and the air base there that suggests that it intends to establish some sort of a forward air operating base,” Xinhua news agency quoted Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis as saying on Monday.

Aerial view of the Pentagon, Arlington, VA
Aerial view of the Pentagon, Arlington, VA

Davis said the Pentagon was closely monitoring the build-up, but declined to provide further details regarding the Russian military personnel and equipment being flown to Syria.

While calling Russia’s military support to the Syrian government “unhelpful and risk,” Davis declined to comment on whether the US-led coalition had invited Russia to join the air campaign against IS.

“We have said before that we would welcome Russian contributions to the overall global effort against (the IS),” he said.

The New York Times on Monday reported at least seven giant Russian Condor transport planes had taken off from Russia during the past week to Syria and passed through Iranian and Iraqi airspace, citing US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Under the US pressure, Bulgaria, a NATO member, had already closed its airspace to the Russian planes.

However, the Iraqi government had so far yet to take actions and still kept the airspace open to Russian planes despite being urged by US diplomats to follow Bulgaria’s example earlier this month.

(IANS)

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The Astronauts Of The Emergency Landing Rocket Will Fly Again in Spring

Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

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Russian Rocket
Head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin addresses the media upon the arrival of Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague at Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan. VOA

The head of Russia’s space agency said Friday that two astronauts who survived the midair failure of a Russian rocket would fly again and would provisionally travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring of next year.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, was speaking a day after Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and American Nick Hague made a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan after the failure of the Soyuz rocket carrying them to the orbital ISS.

Rogozin Friday posted a picture on Twitter of himself next to the two astronauts and said they had now arrived in Moscow. Both men escaped unscathed and feel fine, Roscosmos has said.

Russian Rocket
Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, center, and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right front, meet with family members and acquaintances upon their arrival at Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan. VOA

The mishap occurred as the first and second stages of a Russian rocket separated shortly after the launch from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur.

Thursday’s accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launch pad explosion.

The Interfax news agency Friday cited a source familiar with the Russian investigation as saying that a faulty valve had caused the first stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket to malfunction even though the valve had been properly checked before take-off.

Russian rocket
A view shows the Soyuz capsule that carried U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, after it made an emergency landing, near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan. VOA

NASA has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the United States retired its Space Shuttle program in 2011, although the agency has announced plans for a test flight carrying two astronauts on a SpaceX commercial rocket next April.

Space is an area of cooperation between the United States and Russia at a time of fraught relations. Asked about the mishap, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he was “not worried” that American astronauts have to rely on Russia to get into space.

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches, while Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate what went wrong. Russia’s Investigative Committee has also opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

Also Read: Microsoft And NASA Come Together to Make A New Spacecraft

Unmanned launches of the Progress spacecraft, which carry food and other supplies to the ISS and use the same rocket system as Soyuz, might also be suspended, Interfax has said. (VOA)