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EghtesadOnline: Satellite Zafar, designed by Iran University of Science and Technology, has been delivered to Iran Space Agency and is ready for launch.

IUST Director Jabbar Ali Zakeri told Fars News Agency, “Zafar satellite has been delivered to ISA and the pre-launch procedures are underway at the agency.”

He did not provide a timeframe for the launch, but said it will be put into orbit in the next three months, according to Financial Tribune.

Since the inception of the Islamic Republic some 40 years ago, state authorities have unveiled achievements around the Islamic Revolution’s anniversary on Feb. 11. 

The annual 10-day celebrations named Fajr Decade, are held during Feb. 1-11. The period provides a plausible timeframe for the satellite launch.

On Thursday, ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi and his deputy Morteza Barari—who heads ISA—took to Twitter to write about the satellite.

Jahromi called on people to pitch a message to be transmitted by the satellite. Barari released technical details about Zafar.

Zafar is a 90-kilogram remote-sensing satellite equipped with color cameras and can be used for surveying oil reserves, mines, jungles and natural disasters. If the launch is successful, it will orbit the earth at an altitude of 530 kilometers.

It is likely to be launched by Iran's Simorgh Satellite Launch Vehicle, also called Safir-2, an Iranian expendable small-capacity orbital carrier rocket, which was originally scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2010. The project was unveiled by then-president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in February 2010.

In January 2019, the same carrier was used to put satellite Payam into orbit. The mission failed.

The ISA chief told reporters in August 2019 that Iran will put three satellites into orbit before the current Iranian year ends in March 2020. 

At the time, Barari said, “Work on three satellites—Nahid1, Zafar and Pars1—has been accelerated and they will be launched before the current Iranian year ends.” So far, only Zafar has been delivered for launch.

He says experts at Amirkabir University of Technology are to develop a telecom satellite dubbed Payam2. 

According to the ISA chief, three development plans for building Payam2 are being reviewed and the production procedure will take up to four years.

According to Barari, Iran’s first communication satellite Nahid1 is ready for launch and will soon be put into orbit. 

“Nahid1 will fly 250 kilometers above the Earth and remain in orbit for two and a half months. We will test new technologies during the mission, namely a deployable/retractable solar panel system for satellites, an inter-satellite communication system and a three-axis control system for satellites,” he said.

Barari noted that the retractable solar panel system will enable scientists to develop communication satellites that can remain in orbit for longer.

“Making satellites that can transmit images with a 1-meter resolution tops the ISA agenda. Such satellites will be produced locally by 2025,” he said.

According to the ISA chief, Zafar and Pars1 are remote-sensing satellites that will offer images of 22.5- and 15-meter resolutions respectively.



Previous Efforts

Iran had successfully launched a remote-sensing satellite, Navid, in 2012. The experimental Earth observation satellite was developed by Iran University of Science and Technology researchers. 

The satellite, which took high-resolution images of Earth, could be used for observing natural phenomena.

It was placed into orbit by Iran-made Safir carrier rocket on Feb. 3, 2012. After flying 250 kilometers above the Earth for almost two months, Navid reentered the atmosphere on April 1, 2012.

Barari says, “Last year, we tried to put the satellite Payam into orbit, 500 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. However, due to some complications, including a sharp surge in temperature [during the launch], the mission did not succeed.”

He noted that another satellite, Dousti, was launched in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19) without success. However, he believes that every step Iran takes toward developing space technologies will provide local scientists with invaluable insight.

“After last year’s two launches, a committee was set up to determine the shortcoming of those projects. All those problems have been resolved,” he said.

Dousti (meaning friendship in Persian) was a locally-made micro-class 52-kg satellite that was put into orbit at an altitude of 250-310 km. It reportedly had a spatial resolution of 10 meters.

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


Iran satellite Iran Space Agency launch Space Agency Ready Zafar