Iran Launches Fourth Satellite
Iran now has the capacity to design and build a new generation of satellites.
OE Watch Commentary: On 2 February Iran launched an indigenous satellite, “Fajr” (Dawn). It was Iran’s fourth launch of a domestically produced satellite since 2009. Just as with the first launch of the “Omid” (“Hope”) on the same date in 2009, this latest launch came against the backdrop of the ten-day annual celebration marking the success of the Islamic Revolution.
Mehdi Sarvi, an official with the Iran Electronic Industry Company (which is owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ economic wing and designated as involved in proliferation by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control), said the satellite, which was launched on a Safir rocket and is orbiting at 280 miles above Earth, had no military function but might be used with regard to shipping, meteorology, or agriculture. Seldom, however, are civilian satellites launched without an advance purpose, and so it is likely that the Iranian government does have military ambitions for its space program. This is underscored by the involvement of the Minister of Defense, as per the excerpted article, in the satellite’s launch.
Regardless, the technology to launch satellites into space is dual use—the same technology can potentially lead to the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Iranian investment in satellite technology seems to be accelerating. Deputy Head of the Iran Space Agency Hamid Fazeli announced that in the coming year Tehran was preparing to launch three satellites: Zafar (Triumph), Tolou (Sunrise) and Pars. End OE Watch Commentary (Rubin)
Source: “Mahavareh-e Melli Fajr ba Mavafaghit dar Modar Zamin Qarar Gereft” (“Fajr Satellite Successfully Put into Orbit,”) Fars, 2 February 2015.
Iran Successfully Puts Fajr Satellite into Orbit
President Rouhani said, “The government is determined to continue on the path of progress and, God-willing, in the coming years, before we arrive at the stage, all the country’s requirements in the field of space will be provided to the powerful scientists of Iran based on indigenous technology.”
[Minister of Defense] Gen. [Hossein] Dehghan also congratulated the Supreme Leader, the President of Iran, and the Iranian people for the successful launch of the Fajr, Iran’s fourth domestically-manufactured satellite, into orbit. Dehghan continued to praise advancement by the technology sector, aerospace industry, and Department of Defense, claiming that Iran now has the capacity to design and build a new generation of satellites not only to engage in complex space missions, but also provide services to the aerospace market.