Iran will launch following week an experimental observation satellite, on the day of talks with globe powers over its controversial nuclear programme, the official IRNA news agency reported yesterday.
“The Fajr satellite will be launched on Khordad 3 (May 23),” the director of the Aerospace Industries Mehdi Farahi was quoted as telling. It will be the fourth satellite sent into space since 2009 by Iran, whose space program has attracted the concern of international community which is suspecting Tehran is looking for to produce long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying typical warheads or nuclear ones.
This is the first time that the Islamic republic has announced in advance a date for the launch of a satellite.
Preceding launches had been reported after the operations were effectively undertaken. On May 23 Iran opens talks with world powers in Baghdad over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program which has been denounced by many members of the U.N. Security Council. The Security Council has imposed on Iran an practically complete embargo on nuclear and space technologies since 2007.
Element of the international community, namely the West, suspects Iran, regardless of its denials, of in search of to produce nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal to be able to equip its missiles.
Iran’s earlier satellite launches triggered condemnation from the West who accused Tehran of “provocation.” The Fajr (Dawn) satellite was presented by the Iranian officials as “an observation and measurement” satellite weighing 50 kilos, constructed by Sa-Iran, a organization affiliated to the defense ministry.
Fajr, which is outfitted with solar panels, has an anticipated life of 18 months, significantly longer than the three previous observation tools or experimental communications satellite already put into orbit by Iran which lasted a handful of weeks. Iran has so far launched Omid in February 2009, Rassad in June 2011 and Navid in February 2012. Farahi said that Fajr would be launched by Safir-B1 rocket which is able to spot a load of 50 kilos on a reduced orbit of 300 to 450 kilometers 186-279 miles. According to experts, the Safir-B1 is close to the Iranian ballistic missile Shahab-3 which is derived from the North Korean No-Dong missile.