Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States and China have agreed on a new U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s rocket launch in December that sent a satellite into orbit.
A diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that the text of the draft resolution reiterates the council’s previous demand that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program and not proceed with further launches.
The resolution would be the first in four years to expand the sanctions regime on North Korea.
When asked whether the resolution might be adopted Tuesday, China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong said only “Don’t know” as he entered a closed-door council briefing on Haiti.
China’s agreement to join a resolution is a step away from the protection it usually gives to North Korea, its neighbor, which it defended in the Korean War in the early 1950s against U.S.-led U.N. troops.
China is seen as North Korea’s closest ally, and its protection of North Korea meant that the Security Council previously denounced North Korea’s launches with non-binding council statements, which are unenforceable.
North Korea sent a satellite into space on Dec. 12 aboard a long-range rocket, a launch that the U.S. and its allies have criticized as a test of banned ballistic missile technology. In 2006 and 2009, Pyongyang conducted atomic tests after being slapped with Security Council condemnation and sanctions for similar launches of long-range rockets.
The diplomat said the draft resolution imposes new sanctions under existing authorities on North Korean companies and government agencies, including North Korea’s space agency and several individuals.
The resolution also updates lists of nuclear and ballistic missile technology banned for transfer to and from North Korea and includes several new provisions targeting North Korea’s smuggling of sensitive items that could contribute to the prohibited programs.
The United States negotiated last week and over the weekend to get China to join the new resolution. Washington had to agree that the resolution would not bring in new forms of sanctions but would build on the existing Security Council sanction regimes.
Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin has said Moscow is ready to support the new resolution.
North Korea vowed last week to strengthen its defenses amid concerns the country may conduct a nuclear test as a follow-up to last month’s rocket launch.
Citing U.S. hostility, Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said in a memorandum that North Korea will “continue to strengthen its deterrence against all forms of war.”
The memorandum carried by state media did not say what action North Korea would take to defend itself. However, North Korea has claimed the right to build atomic weapons to protect itself from the United States, which stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.