A Russian rocket on Tuesday successfully launched an Iranian satellite into orbit, The Associated Press reported.
The Soyuz rocket lifted off as scheduled at 8:52 a.m. Moscow time from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.
About nine minutes after the launch, it placed the Iranian satellite, called Khayyam, into orbit. It’s named after Omar Khayyam, a Persian scientist who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Iran has said the satellite fitted with high-resolution camera will be used for environmental monitoring and will remain fully under its control.
Tehran said no other country will have access to information it gathers and it would be used for civilian purposes only, but there have been allegations that Russia may use it for surveillance of Ukraine amid its military action there, according to AP.
If it operates successfully, the satellite would give Iran the ability to monitor Israel and other countries in the Middle East.
Iran has several times tried, unsuccessfully, to launch satellites into space. In March, it was reported that Iran tried to launch a satellite into space but failed to do so due to a malfunction at the launch site.
According to the report, Iran tried to hide the malfunction, but an explosion occurred at the site and the experiment was subsequently canceled.
In January, a top Iranian official claimed that Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had launched a solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket into space and that the test was successful.
A month earlier, in December, Iran claimed it had successfully launched three research satellites into space. According to Ahmad Hosseini, a Defense Ministry spokesman, the rocket used was a Simorgh.
A day later, however, Iran acknowledged that the space launch failed to put its three payloads into orbit after the rocket was unable to reach the required speed.
Citing Iran’s civilian space agency, state television on Tuesday said the satellite would provide high-resolution surveillance images with a one-meter-per-pixel definition.
Western civilian satellites offer around half-a-meter per pixel, while US spy satellites are believed to have even-greater definition.