A rocket carrying three Iranian research satellites was successfully lifted off Thursday
Iran has conducted a successful space launch, the country’s defense ministry reported on Thursday. According to Simorgh, the Simorgh rocket transported three research satellites at an altitude of approximately 470km.
Footage shown by the state media showed the rocket taking off from the launch pad at Iran’s Imam Khomeini Spaceport. The launch was praised by a reporter who covered the event. “another achievement by Iranian scientists.”
Defense Ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said the payload was delivered to an altitude of 470 kilometers and boosted to a speed of 7,350 meters per second, but would not elaborate further. The stated parameters may indicate that the devices did not achieve a stable orbit, which is consistent with Iran’s previous launches of short-lived satellites.
The three-stage Simorgh rocket successfully made its maiden suborbital launch without a payload in 2016, but subsequent tests were plagued with technical difficulties. Tehran conducted several space launches with the older two-stage Safir rocket over the years and had a successful maiden flight of a smaller three-stage Zuljanah rocket in January.
It also ran the Kavoshgar-Pishgam program of suborbital launches testing life support systems on rhesus monkeys, with two successful launches reported in 2013 after a failed animal mission in 2011.
Iran has invested heavily in rocket technology as a military tool. It felt that it was required to have a credible conventional missile defence against the US, Israel, and their regional allies. The Iranian military would benefit from being able to launch satellites into orbit, which could increase its communication and surveillance capabilities.
Washington accused Tehran of using space launches to test technologies required to create an intercontinental ballistic missile – a delivery vehicle that Iran could use to pose a threat to the US mainland if paired with a nuclear warhead.
Iran has denied ever having the intention to develop a nuclear weapons.
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