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Iran launches its first domestic satellite

RIA Novosti

03/02/2009 09:10 TEHRAN, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - Iran carried into orbit its first domestically-produced satellite on Tuesday, the country's national TV said.

The research satellite named Omid (Hope), which contains communications and digital equipment, was carried into orbit by a home-made launch vehicle, Safir (Messenger).

The launch was planned to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

The Iranian satellite is due to orbit for up to three months before returning to Earth together with data which will enable Iranian scientists to produce an operational satellite.

In November 2008, Iran launched a carrier space rocket, Kavoshgar 2 (Explorer 2), which returned to earth after completing its mission.

The Islamic Republic plans to send exploratory rockets into space with live animals on board, paving the way for manned space flights.

The launches have aroused concerns throughout the world that Tehran is developing long-range ballistic missile technology that could be used to launch nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its space program has no military goals.

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