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Iranian satellite to stay in orbit for two months

RIA Novosti

04/02/2009 15:00 TEHRAN, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's first indigenous satellite will stay in orbit for at least two months as it sends processed technical data back to Earth, the head of the Iran Aerospace Organization said on Wednesday.

An Iranian carrier rocket, Safir-2, successfully put the Omid (Hope) communications satellite into a low orbit late on Monday.

"Considering the limited service life of the battery, the satellite will operate for at least two months. Monitoring stations built by Iranian specialists will maintain contact with the satellite during this period," Reza Taqipour said.

The U.S., France, Israel, and the U.K. have already expressed concern over the recent Iranian launch. They have said that Tehran may be developing long-range ballistic missile technology that could be used to launch nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its space program is of an entirely peaceful nature.

Iran's space officials earlier said they plan to put a "series of satellites" into space by 2010 to aid natural disaster management programs and improve telecommunications.

While Omid is Iran's first domestically-built satellite, a previous satellite, Sinah-1, was built and launched for Tehran by Russia in 2005.

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