Commemorative launches of Iran's cosmonautics

    The other day, Iran’s cosmonautics turned ten years old - on February 2, 2009, an Iranian satellite launched on its own rocket went into orbit. The country decided to celebrate the jubilee with two launches at once - on January 15, an attempt was made to launch AUTSAT-1, which ended in failure, and another satellite is expected to launch in early February.


    The poster, most likely, agitating for education. Pay attention to the shuttle with the flag of Iran. A source

    The Iranian Semnan cosmodrome has two platforms - a round one, from which launches of the Safir launch vehicle and the Imam Khomeini spaceport, a full launch complex with a mobile service tower for the Simurg launch vehicles, are made. And in early January, satellite images showed activity on both sites - the photographs showed containers with rocket stages, fuel tanks and other equipment.


    Bottom left - round launch pad, lower right - launch complex for Simurg, Planet Labs photo, January 2019


    Round platform with Safir rocket, archival photo


    Complex for Simurg, photo Planet Labs, January 2019


    Simurg launch pad, photo of the Iranian Space Agency, summer 2017

    The wait was not in vain, on January 15, the Simurg launch vehicle with the Earth remote sensing satellite AUTSAT 1, also known as Amir-Kabir 1 and Payam-e Amirkabir, started. Alas, the photos of the Earth with a resolution of 40 m from their satellite, the Iranians will have to wait - because of the accident at the third stage, the satellite did not go into orbit.



    In general, it is worth noting that Simurg has no luck yet - the first launch on April 19, 2016 is considered a successful suborbital test, but the second one, on July 27, 2017, is not a successful suborbital test, or an unsuccessful orbital launch attempt. There were no satellites, however, on the first two launches. Given such statistics, it is not surprising that work is also going on at the second site - February 11 will be 40 years of the Islamic revolution, a successful space launch looks good in the news, and the Saphar launch vehicle, although it has a lower payload, has better statistics. It successfully launched the Omid (2009), Rasad (2011), Navid satellites (full name “Preaching of Science and Technology”, 2012) and Fajr (2015). In the spring of 2012, foreign satellites recorded a rocket exhaust track on the site, which indicates an unsuccessful launch (no new objects were found in orbit) or some trials. In the autumn of the same year, damage to the launch was observed on satellite photographs, which may indicate an explosion at the start or unsuccessful trials. And, finally, the very first launch in 2008 can be both successful suborbital missile tests (the official version) and an unsuccessful orbital launch attempt. Thus, Safira gets from 5/5 successful flights to 4/7.

    The animation shows work on the launch pad. The turn of the shadow says that the service tower from the horizontal is set to a vertical position.



    The payload has not yet been announced; the most likely candidates are the Dusti remote sensing satellite or the telecommunications Nahid.


    Satellite "Dusti" photo MEHRNews

    "Dusti", translated as "Friendship", is a satellite developed by the Sharif University of Technology. It has a mass of 52 kg and will have to work in a low orbit. The camera, clearly visible in the photograph, says that one of his tasks will be photographing the earth's surface.


    Satellite "Nahid", photo MEHRNews

    "Nahid" ("Venus") is positioned mainly as a telecommunications satellite. Media approvalthat it will be put into geosynchronous orbit does not look plausible - “Saphir” used to put light 50-kg satellites into low orbit, and it can’t reach high orbits. A perfectly visible camera means that telecommunications tasks will be complemented by photographing the Earth.

    The launch date is also still unknown. It was called on February 3, but there was no news. It is also possible to transfer the launch due to news of a fire in one of the buildings of the space center, in which three scientists were killed.

    PS A more detailed story about the history of the Iranian space program is here .

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