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Iran to conduct first satellite launch soon - Ahmadinejad

RIA Novosti

25/09/2008 15:36 TEHRAN, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's president says his country will soon send up a rocket that will put the country's first domestically launched satellite into orbit, his press service said Thursday.

"We will soon launch a rocket that has 16 engines, which will put into orbit a 700 kg satellite," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a meeting of the Iranian diaspora in the United States.

On February 4, 2008, Iran tested the Kaveshgyar-1 (Explorer) missile and unveiled its first domestically built satellite, Omid (Hope), which is to be launched later this year.

The satellite will aid natural disaster management programs and improve telecommunications.

In mid-August, Tehran said it put a dummy satellite into orbit.

Iran's first satellite was launched in 2005 by a Russian rocket, and earlier this year a Chinese rocket put a joint Chinese-Thai-Iranian satellite into orbit.

The Islamic Republic has said it plans to launch several domestic satellites by 2010 and send its first astronaut into space within the next decade.

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