Iran: The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) launched the small earth-observation satellite, ‘Navid-e Elm-o Sana’at’ (Promise of Science and Industry), marking the country’s first successful mission since a failed attempt in space last year. It was launched, using a Safir 1-B rocket, according to a translation of a statement posted to the agency’s Farsi-language website. Safir means “Ambassador” in Farsi.
The new Iranian satellite weighs about 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and was built by students at the Sharif University of Technology, according to a report by Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
According to the Iranian Space Agency, the satellite is shaped like a cube that is nearly 20 inches (50 centimetres) wide. It is circling earth in an elliptical orbit and passes over Iran six times a day. The satellite will fly a two-month mission and is controlled via five ground stations, one each in the cities of Karaj, Tabriz, Qeshm, Bushehr and Mashhad, Iranian space officials said.
Iranian defence minister General Ahmad Vahidi hailed the launch as a huge achievement for Iran’s space technology effort. ‘Promise of Science and Industry’ will be used by researchers to study Earth’s weather systems and manage responses to natural disasters, according to the IRNA.
Prior to the failed spaceflight, Iran had made progress in spaceflight technology. A June 2011 Safir rocket launch sent the Rasad-1 (Observation 1) satellite into orbit on an earth-mapping mission. The country launched a Kavoshagar-3 rocket in 2010 that sent a rat, two turtles and a worm into space.
Iran launched its first domestically built satellite into space in February 2009.
Iranian Space Agency officials have said in future that they are aiming to launch a human into space by 2020 and land an astronaut on the moon by 2025.