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North Korea fires ballistic missiles, marking fourth in a week

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(Last Updated On: October 1, 2022)

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the sea off the east coast on Saturday, South Korea’s military said, marking Pyongyang’s fourth launch in a week as it ratchets up tension around the Korean peninsula, Reuters reported.

The launch comes after the navies of South Korea, the United States and Japan staged trilateral anti-submarine exercises on Friday for the first time in five years, and follows a visit by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to the region this week.

According to Reuters the two short-range missiles were launched from Sunan, north of the North Korean capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. It estimated the range at 350 km (220 miles) at 30 km (20 miles) altitude and speed of Mach 6.

Japan’s coast guard reported at least two suspected ballistic missile tests by Pyongyang. The missiles flew 400 km and 350 km, reaching an altitude of 50 km, said Toshiro Ino, state minister of defence.

Tokyo has lodged a protest against the North through diplomatic channels, Ino said, adding the missiles possibly flew an “irregular trajectory” designed to evade missile defence.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said it is aware of the ballistic missile launches and has assessed they do not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory or to its allies, read the report.

North Korea fired missiles before and after Harris’ visit to South Korea, extending a record pace in weapons testing this year as it increases the threat of a credible nuclear power that can strike the United States and its allies.

Pyongyang also conducted the first intercontinental ballistic missile test since 2017, Reuters reported.

Analysts see the increased pace of testing as an effort to build operational weapons, as well as to take advantage of a world distracted by the Ukraine conflict and other crises to “normalise” its tests.

“Despite North Korea’s internal weaknesses and international isolation, it is rapidly modernising weapons and taking advantage of a world divided by U.S.-China rivalry and Russia’s annexation of more Ukrainian territory,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international politics at Ewha University in Seoul.

“The Kim regime is also playing hardball with the Yoon administration while South Korean politics are hobbled by infighting,” referring to South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.

Japan’s Defence Ministry said in a report in July the North had been launching short-range missiles that fly low and irregular trajectories, characteristics observed since May 2019 that are likely designed for higher war-fighting effectiveness.

Marking South Korea’s 74th Armed Forces Day, President Yoon condemned what he called recent military provocations by the North and vowed to strengthen joint military drills with the United States.

“Going forward, the government will further strengthen the Korea-U.S. joint exercises, will respond strongly to North Korean provocations and threats by showing them the ‘Alliance in Action’,” Yoon said in a televised speech.

South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, Kim Gunn, had telephone calls with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, in which he said they jointly condemned Pyongyang’s missile tests. He said Saturday’s launch poses a “serious threat to the international community.”

The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions against the North for its ballistic missile and nuclear tests. Pyongyang rejects such moves as infringement of its sovereign right to self-defence and space exploration, Reuters reported.

The North has completed preparations for a nuclear test, a window which could open between China’s Communist Party congress in October and the U.S. mid-term elections in November, South Korean lawmakers said on Wednesday.

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Rumors fly that Apple iPhone 15 series to come with a new design

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2022)

It’s been a couple of months since Apple released the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro series smartphones in the market but the rumors and leaks for the next-generation iPhone 15 lineup have already started surfacing online.

Reports have emerged that the new Apple iPhone 15 series will come with a new design language, something that many users had been waiting for as the company hasn’t changed the design of the phone for quite some time.

As per the reports, the Apple iPhone 15 lineup will be redesigned to have a rounder body instead of the flat design that it currently features.

It is also being claimed that the upcoming iPhone models will have a titanium body to make the devices lightweight. However, in that case, we expect to see the change only in the Pro models of the smartphones while the standard models could keep using aluminum, gizmochina.com reported. .

Apart from design and material changes for the iPhone 15 series, there are a few more changes that are expected to happen with the upcoming lineup. The phones are expected to come powered by a new chipset manufactured using a 3nm process and the devices will have USB-C port instead of Lightning port.

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China rocket taking 3 to space station to blast off Tuesday

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2022)

A rocket carrying three astronauts to finish building China’s space station will blast off Tuesday amid intensifying competition with the US, the government said Monday,

The crew includes a veteran of a 2005 space mission and two first-time astronauts, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The Shenzhou-15 mission will take off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert at 11:08 p.m. Tuesday night, the agency said. A Long March-2F carrier rocket, China’s standard workhorse for crewed missions, will be used to sling it into space, it said.

The six-month mission, commanded by Fei Junlong and crewed by Deng Qingming and Zhang Lu, will be the last “in the construction phase of China’s space station,” agency official Ji Qiming told reporters Monday.

Fei, 57, is a veteran of the 2005 four-day Shenzhou-6 mission, the second time China sent a human into space. Deng and Zhang are making their first space flights, AP reported.

The station’s third and final module docked with the station earlier this month, one of the last steps in China’s more than decade-long effort to maintain a constant crewed presence in orbit.

The astronauts will overlap briefly onboard the station, named Tiangong, with the previous crew, who arrived in early June for a six-month stay.

After the Shenzhou-15 spaceship makes an automated docking with the Tianhe core modules’ front port, the station will be expanded to its maximum size, with three modules and three spaceships for a total mass of nearly 100 tons, Ji said.

It will also be at maximum capacity for several days. Tiangong has room to accommodate six astronauts at a time and the handover will take about a week. Previous missions to the space station have taken about 13 hours from liftoff to docking.

The permanent Chinese station weighs about 66 tons — a fraction of the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs around 465 tons.

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft enters lunar orbit

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

NASA’s Orion spacecraft was placed in lunar orbit on Friday, as it neared the halfway mark of its test flight.

About ten days after the spacecraft blasted off from Florida bound for the moon, flight controllers “successfully performed a burn to insert Orion into a distant retrograde orbit,” NASA said on its website.

According to the US space agency, Orion will fly about 64,400 kilometers above the moon.

Orion is expected to take astronauts to the moon in the years to come. This first test flight without a crew on board is intended to ensure the safety of the vehicle.

While in lunar orbit, flight controllers will monitor Orion’s key systems and perform checks while in the environment of deep space, the agency said.

The spacecraft will reach a maximum distance of almost 432,000 kilometers from the Earth in a few days. That will set a new distance record for a capsule designed to carry people.

It will take the capsule about a week to perform a half orbit around the moon, after which it will exit the lunar orbit again to begin its return to the Earth.

Orion’s landing in the Pacific Ocean is scheduled for December 11, after just over 25 days of flight.

The success of this mission will determine the future of the Artemis 2 mission, which aims to take astronauts around the moon without landing in 2024.

It will be followed by the Artemis 3 mission, which is expected to finally mark the return of humans to the lunar surface in 2025.

NASA aims to land US astronauts on the moon again for the first time in almost 50 years. The US sent 12 astronauts to the moon between 1969 and 1972.

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