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Satellite Database Update: More than 2,600 Active Satellites Orbiting the Earth

, senior scientist

View of IS-901 satellite from Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) during approach from approximately 20 meters with Earth in the background. The MEV successfully docked with the Intelsat 901 satellite on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Northrop Grumman

An updated version of the UCS Satellite Database, which includes launches through March 31, 2020, is now available on the UCS website. This update includes the addition to the database of 486 satellites and the removal of 38, for a total of 2,666 active satellites.

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The Latest US Test Flight of a Hypersonic Weapon: the Common Hypersonic Glide Body

A common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility during a Defense Department flight experiment, Kauai, Hawaii, March 19, 2020. Oscar Sosa/Navy.

The United States Department of Defense has been actively developing hypersonic weapons—missiles that fly through the atmosphere at more than five times the speed of sound—since the early 2000s. Read More

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Does Japan Have Nuclear Weapons?

, China project manager and senior analyst

Japan does not have its own nuclear weapons. The Japanese government considered developing them in the past, but decided this would make Japan less secure. Japanese opinion polls consistently express strong public opposition to nuclear weapons. So do their elected representatives.

There is, however, a small group of non-elected Japanese bureaucrats with close ties to the U.S. defense establishment who insist U.S. nuclear weapons should be “the core of Japan’s security arrangements.” Wonks refer to this supposed core as “extended nuclear deterrence.” Journalists and politicians, especially in Japan, call it a “nuclear umbrella.”

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US Should Extend the New START Nuclear Weapons Treaty To Make Us All Safer

, co-director and senior scientist

Obama and Medvedev signing the New START treaty (Source: White House photo)

According to an AP News story, last Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the fate of the 2010 New START agreement, as well as potential future agreements to limit nuclear weapons.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s desire to extend New START from February 2021 until 2026 and clarified that two of Russia’s new weapon systems would be covered under the treaty. This alone should be reason for the United States to extend New START. But Russia has also said it is open to negotiating a new treaty that would limit other Russian weapons systems now under development.

This is a no-brainer. It is foolhardy for the United States to throw out something good because it wants something better, leaving it with nothing.

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