The Obama Administration has decided to add its campaign against al Shabab to the list of conflicts included in the authorization for use of military force approved by Congress after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Times reported Monday. The decision is based on a demonstration of connections between al Shabab leadership and the leadership of al Qaeda, according to the Times. The administration took similar action earlier this year to broaden its authority to conduct airstrikes in Afghanistan and Syria. The US has been conducting self-defense strikes in Somalia, most recently in September, to protect US service members and coalition partners there. But since a March 5 self-defense strike killed 150 fighters, the administration has sought to close what some have criticized as a “loophole,” according to the Times, allowing airstrikes in some cases where US service members are not directly in danger.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.