Iranian state media have reported that the country has successfully launched a new domestically-built small satellite into orbit on Friday, using technology that can be converted for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
According to the Iranian Fars News Agency, the satellite called "Navid-e Elm-o Sana'at" (Promise of Science and Industry) is designed to collect data, monitor weather conditions and natural disasters. Tehran Times reports the satellite was manufactured by the Iranian University of Science and Technology and was launched on the Space Technology Day and on "the third day of the Ten-Day Dawn (Feb. 1-Feb. 11) in which Iran celebrates the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution."
State TV showed footage of launch of the satellite. According to the official IRNA, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he hoped "this act will send a signal of more friendship among all human beings."
Fars reports Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, and the Minister of Science and Technology, Kamran Daneshjoo, attended the launch. Fars claims Iran has in recent years made advances in its space program, including successful launch of a rocket carrying a mouse, turtle and worms into space.
Iran, according to The Washington Post , also claims it has set a goal to put a man in orbit within 10 years.
President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Navid made in IranFars reports the satellite weighs 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and would orbit the Earth at an altitude of up to 234 miles (375 kilometers) and circle the planet 15 times a day. According to The Washington Post, the satellite belongs to a class of satellites known as miniaturized or microsatellites. Such satellites are cheaper to produce and can be launced at less cost.
The satellite is the third small satellite the Iranians have launched in recent years. Accordiing to Daily Mail, Iran's first satellite, called Omid, was launched in 2009. The second called Rasad, was launched in June 2011, and lasted more than a month in orbit.
According to the Iranian Press TV, the launch of Iran's domestically-built Navid satellite is a major achievement that will boost the counry's "aerospace capabilities." Nader Mokhtari, columnist and commentator in Tehran, in an interview with Press TV, said Navid is essentially "a sensing satellite with the ability to learn mapping capabilities and it has been placed in an elliptical orbit of 250 to 370 kilometers, which is significantly higher than other satellites put up by Iran."
Mokhtari said the successful launch of Navid sends a message to the "West and its rulers that despite their sordid efforts; terrorist attacks and assassinations on Iranian soil, Iran is carrying on regardless...You can make assassinations and you could carry out terrorist activities, but you cannot kill knowledge. The knowledge base for such activities is very firmly in our universities and our major centers of learning. And all such attempts will prove futile."
Navid is expected to remain in orbit for two months. According to IRNA, the satellite has advanced control technology and a higher resolution camera and photocells to generate power.
Via Iran's media
It appears that the photo released by Tehran may be enhanced in Photoshop. Are these real Shahab missiles?
Iran developing ICBM capability
Navid was launched into orbit by a missile launch-vehicle called Safir, or Ambassador. The IRNA said Safir has 20 percent more launch power compared to earlier versions Iran used to launch satellites into orbit.
According to an Iranian website Irannuc.ir, Safir is a ballistic missile launch vehicle and can be converted into use for launching intercontinental missiles. The Washington Post reports U.S. State Department officials have confirmed this claim, saying the technology used in launching Safir rocket was "critical" to developing long-range ballistic missiles. The U.S.officials also say Iran's action violated a 2010 U.N. resolution prohibiting Iran from conducting launches using ballistic missile technology.
The West has for long been watching Iran's space program with growing unease because its emphasis on developing ballistic missile technology will give Iran the capability to fire ICBMs carrying nuclear warheads. According to the U.S. and Israel, Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them using intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology.