Iran preparing to launch a new satellite

Head of Iran's national space agency says new satellite will be launched "in the coming days".

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Safir satellite-carrier rocket for carrying Iran's Omid Satellite
Safir satellite-carrier rocket for carrying Iran's Omid Satellite

Iran is preparing to launch a new scientific observation satellite in the "coming days", the head of the country's national space agency told AFP on Saturday.

Manufacture of the Zafar (Victory in Farsi) satellite "began three years ago with the participation of 80 Iranian scientists," said Morteza Berari, without giving a date for the launch.

The 113-kilogram satellite will be launched by a Simorgh rocket 530 kilometers (329 miles) above the Earth, where it will make 15 orbits daily, Berari added.

The satellite was designed to remain operational for "more than 18 months", he said.

Its "primary mission" will be collecting imagery, said Berari, who said Iran needed such data to study earthquakes, prevent natural disasters and develop its agriculture.

"It will be a new step for our country," said Berari, noting that Iran had previously managed to place a satellite into orbit 250 km (155 miles) above the Earth.

A year ago, Iran attempted to launch a satellite into space but failed when the satellite failed to reach orbit.

The launch came despite US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s warning to Iran to cease its efforts to develop ballistic missiles. Pompeo demanded that Iran drop its plans for a space launch, saying such actions would defy UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Resolution 2231, which the US says Iran violates with its ballistic missile tests, enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States and calls on Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

Despite the concern by the West over the Islamic Republic's satellite program, Berari insisted on Saturday Iran advocates for the "peaceful use of outer space".

"All our activities in the domain of outer space are transparent," he told AFP.

The Iranian Space Agency hopes to construct five more satellites before March 2021, Berari added.