EghtesadOnline: Iran has six satellites ready for launch, the ICT minister tweeted late on Saturday.
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, who is also an avid social media user, has been regularly posting about Iran’s space program and an upcoming satellite launch on Twitter, Financial Tribune reported.
In his latest tweet, Jahromi stressed that the country is to speed up its space program and announced that a team at Amirkabir University of Technology is designing a satellite with a spatial resolution of 1 meter. He called on social media users to pitch names for the satellite.
The minister had tweeted on Jan. 19 that the University of Science and Technology had handed over two locally-developed satellites Zafar1 and Zafar2 to the Iranian Space Agency.
In his social media post, the minister also noted that Iran has upgraded its Simorgh satellite launch vehicle.
In 2019, the same SLV was used more than once to put satellites into orbit which, however, failed due to technical glitches.
On Friday, Hossein Dalirian, an Iranian journalist covering defense issues, wrote on Twitter, “The Defense Ministry will put satellite Zafar into orbit in the coming days. Simorgh SLV will carry the satellite.”
In a talk with ISNA last week, ISA Chief Morteza Barari confirmed that Simorgh SLV will put Zafar1 into orbit. He added that the satellite launch will be operated and monitored by three stations in Charmshahr (Tehran Province), Mahdasht (Alborz Province) and Qeshm Island (Strait of Hormuz).
The SLV, also called Safir2, is an Iranian 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.
Zafar1 is a 90-kilogram remote-sensing satellite equipped with color cameras, which could 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.
Earlier on Saturday, Hossein Samimi, the head of Iran Space Research Center, told Mehr News Agency that Iran has produced solid-propellant rocket motors that will be used in future satellite launches.
Samimi stressed that the technology used in the upper-stage rocket motors is similar to the Star—a family of US solid-propellant rocket motors used by many space propulsion and launch vehicles. The Iranian rocket motor has been named Arash.
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 said, “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 also 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 shortcomings 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.