Iran’s Minister of Defense, General Ahmad Vahidi, announced that in February, Iran will launch another homemade satellite and several military projects into space.
According to Vahidi, Iran will begin to operate several programs related to its space program during the “Ten Days of Dawn” (February 1– 10). The holiday marks 34 years since the Islamic Revolution, and commemorates the country’s space industry. During the celebration, many new developments will be revealed.
“In the past, Iran announced the coming launch date of satellites several times, but eventually carried them out at a much later date,” says Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies (the institute is leading a multi-year research project on Iran’s space program).
“Certain satellites wait at least two years for launch, but have yet to fly to space. It seems that there is a delay in the Iranian launch program compared to the satellite program, creating a ‘traffic jam’ on the road to space; Iran has completed developing at least six satellites that are awaiting launch. The launcher for Iran’s current generation of satellites is based on Shihab missile technology, and is a sufficient system only for small satellites. In order to launch its newer satellites, Iran requires the largest launcher yet—the Simorgh—however, its development is not yet complete,” Inbar explains. Despite these challenges, Vahidi declared that Iran would already be making use of the Simorgh launcher in February.
Iran has also invested efforts to develop an intelligence satellite. Six months ago, the country launched an Iranian-made miniature satellite named Rasad (observation). While the satellite does not have military or defense capabilities, the satellite was the second one Iran launched after its first, Omid (hope), which brought Iran into the space club in 2009.