This week: Trouble in Iran and the last Artemis I’m delaying

September 26, 2022

Hello from USC Media Relations. Middle East experts are available to discuss the current unrest in Iran following the death of a young woman almost two weeks ago. In addition, an expert in space projects explains why the delays affecting NASA’s Artemis I mission are “completely normal”.


Contact: USC Media Relations, [email protected] or (213) 740-2215

Harsh retaliation triggers wider unrest following death of Iranian woman

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian, died in the custody of vice police for violating proper hijab on September 16. The furor that followed Amini’s death sparked protests in Iran and around the world. Peyman Nojoumian, associate professor (teaching) of Persian in the Middle East Studies department at USC Dornsife, said the Iranian regime’s violent response to the early peaceful protests – which have claimed 26 lives so far – seem to have galvanized popular unrest against harsh repressions.

“The current protest appears to be larger than previous ones and targets the violation of basic human rights by the Islamic regime over the past four decades. What makes this protest more robust is people’s frustration and anger at the continued downturns in the economy, the government’s premature cut in subsidies last year and the widespread corruption of authorities. The Iranian government blames the harsh sanctions for high commodity prices and the expansion of poverty among the middle class. Meanwhile, the people accuse the regime of not cooperating with the global community to reach an agreement and lift the crippling sanctions.

“Mahsa’s death has erupted the frustration of angry people and widespread protests. However, the regime’s brutal response has turned peaceful protests into violence and has claimed 26 lives so far. A new wave of intimidation and arrests of journalists and activists has started again. The regime has also cut internet access and banned social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram. It seems people are now more determined than ever to continue their protest amid harsh crackdowns. »

Contact: [email protected]

Additional expert available:

Sarah MA Gualtieri is an expert on women and protest movements who can also speak to the inconsistencies in US foreign policy when it comes to women’s issues in the Middle East. She is an Associate Professor of History, American Studies, and Ethnicity at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Contact: [email protected]

Again delays launch of NASA’s Artemis I plague

Technical and weather issues have combined to repeatedly delay the launch of Artemis I, the first stage of NASA’s return to the moon, from its original Aug. 29 launch date. Madhu Thangavelu, a lecturer at USC School of Architecture and USC Viterbi School of Engineering, is an expert in the design of complex space projects, including space stations and exploration missions. Thangavelu talked about the cause of the delays and what we could expect when the Artemis takes off.

“While it’s always a pleasure to watch big rockets launch, everything in this system of systems loop, carefully constructed to avoid surprises, needs to work optimally, including the weather. For this Artemis 1 mission, the weather delayed the countdown ahead. Next, some fuel line leaks were detected and had to be assessed. Shortly after, the main tank and one engine showed anomalies that required further investigation. .

“The delay is completely normal for any test flight. Most flight tests are done this way. It’s rare to see a launch on the first try. This is a test flight that aims to stress vehicle systems to the limit, eliminate problems with the entire complex space launch system and Orion vehicle stack. It’s a qualifying engineering process that must be gone through thoroughly before putting our most valuable payload, our brave astronauts, on a trajectory back to the Moon, on the most powerful rocket ever.

Contact: [email protected]

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