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EghtesadOnline: Iran is set to launch satellite ‘Dousti’ into space in the coming weeks, the ICT minister told a conference in Tehran on occasion of National Space Technology Day.

“In the coming weeks, Dousti will be put into orbit,” Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said Sunday, his website reported.

Dousti (friendship in Persian) is a locally-made micro-class 52kg satellite that will orbit the Earth at altitudes between 250km and 310km. Jahromi said it has a spatial resolution of 10 meters.

Iran’s bid earlier this month to put into orbit the Payam1 satellite failed when the launching rocket did not reach adequate speed in the third stage, Financial Tribune reported.

Payam1 (message in Persian), a micro-class 100kg non-military satellite was to orbit about 500-600 km above the Earth's surface and undertake imagery and telecom tasks.

According to the minister, two other satellites are being developed in Iran. Scientists at Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) are working on a satellite named Zafar, which Jahromi said should be ready for launch by September.

Another satellite is being developed by the Iranian Space Research Center (ISRC) named Nahid 2 for communication use.



Open Data Policy 

The minister said to help improve the key sector, private firms and knowledge-based companies will have access to data collected by Iran Space Agency (ISA).

Over the past months, the Rouhani administration has been promoting an open data approach that entails giving private firms access to information gathered by state agencies.

If this approach is extended to space science, and if satellite imagery data is shared with private entities, companies will be able to help farmers with informed counseling.

With timely, valuable and precise information, farmers will be able to make data-driven decisions. For instance, they can decide on the best crop(s) for the year based on ecological forecasts.

Iran is among countries struggling with water crisis for decades. Space science and remote sensing can be employed for better management of the dwindling water resources and other natural resources.

Jahromi says the space program is in line with President Hassan Rouhani’s declared policy of curbing reliance on natural resources like fossil fuels by supporting and promoting tech-based businesses.

In addition to expanding space sciences and launching satellites, he said, commercializing the application of space technologies is on the government agenda.



Private Investment

ISA chief Morteza Barari in his address said the government plans to open up the space industry to private investment.

Iran’s space program is fully financed by the state and is the function of government agencies and universities. “We are working on measures to open up the sector to private investment,” Barari said.

The private sector is being encouraged to invest and participate in building and developing communication satellites. Iran Communication Regulatory Authority is to publish a detailed rule book in this field.

ISRC director, Hossein Samimi, outlined the center’s collaboration with academia in space sciences. “We have signed agreements with local universities for research projects and building satellites on which a million dollars will be spent jointly.”

He said his center will open a space sciences laboratory this week.


Iran Dousti satellite Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi space friendship