Iranian National Space Agency
Based on activities carried out during the last three decades in different agencies, the institutionalization of a national body with the aims of policy-making, planning, budgeting, research, development and coordination of ongoing activities in different organizations within the country is in the process of being finalized. In this respect, and in order to coordinate activities in research institutions, administrative agencies and universities, a policy-making process is being carried out carefully towards the ultimate goal of making that body the core of the Iranian National Space Agency.
The main agencies involved in earth resources remote sensing activities include the Iranian Remote Sensing Center (which is national coordinating body for Earth observation activities in I. R. Iran), Geological and Mineral Research Survey of Iran affiliated to the Ministry of Mines and Metals, Forest and Range Organization, Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Center, Ministry of Jihad of Agriculture, Iranian National Center for Oceanography, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Petroleum, and Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.
There are more than seven universities who are presenting post-graduate courses or degree programs in space remote sensing and geographic information systems. In addition to these universities, there are other administrative bodies such as National Cartographic Center, Iranian Remote Sensing Center (IRSC), Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Center that are providing discipline-oriented or special courses on new space technologies.
Aiming to develop infrastructure for the application of space science and technologies in the country, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues its work by providing opportunities for in-depth education in space science and technology applications in the country. A considerable number of courses on the applications of space science and technology have been included in the education program of different universities throughout the country at the postgraduate level. Subjects covered include satellite communications, remote sensing and geo-information systems, satellite meteorology, atmospheric and space studies, space engineering and so on. While efforts in this area are being carried out continuously, the object of establishing a specialized center dedicated solely to in-depth and short- as well as medium-term education in space science and technology applications based on approved international standards is being followed up in parallel.
The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the idea of establishing a Center for space science and technology education of Iran as a node for the network of entrees for space science and technology education in Asia and the Pacific. As a first step, the bi-weekly courses on satellite communications and remote sensing, GIS and standard positioning systems (SPS) have been planned and will it is hoped be active soon. In the meantime, the Islamic Republic of Iran is interested and ready to join the Board of Governors of the Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific, based in India.
Iranian Remote Sensing Center (IRSC)
Following the successful launch of the first Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1), then called Landsat in 1972, Remote Sensing technology applications in Iran introduced. After preliminary studies that led to acceptable and optimum results, a program entitled "Satellite Technology Application Plan" launched in the Budget and Planning Organization of Iran. The program aimed to install a receiving station of satellite imagery in Mahdasht (Karaj, 50km west of Tehran). In 1991 following the approval of an act by the Iranian Parliament, the Iranian Remote Sensing Center (IRSC) as a governmental body affiliated to the Ministry of Post, Telegraph and Telephone (MPTT).
The consolidation of space activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered to be a vital necessity. The Iranian Remote Sensing Center (IRSC), affiliated to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, in cooperation with other related bodies, is committed to the establishment of the Iranian National Space Agency.
Aerospace Research Institute (ARI)
The Aerospace Research Institute (ARI) affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology is another active organization in the space science and technology applications that follows different space related studies and activities in I. R. Iran. The Aerodynamic group of ARI concentrates presently on the aerodynamic design and analysis of launch vehicles. The group is capable of estimating the aerodynamic coefficients and determination of flow pattern around launch vehicles with various levels of accuracy required in different phases of design process. Planning and conducting wind tunnel tests for validation of analytical and numerical results is also among the capabilities of the group. The Sounding Rocket Group works on sub-orbital rockets called sounding rocket and their payloads. It has carried out several study programs in the field of sounding rocket's capabilities and applications, their payload and the experiment conducted by them and other related subject. The group is capable of planning sounding rocket experiments, as well as selecting and/or designing the required payload and equipment.
Due to the effects of the humankind's aerospace activities on the environmental health of the Earth, the subject of the space debris in recent decade emerges as serious threatening problem for the survival of orbiting spacecrafts, space platforms and the astronauts operating space walks in the near-earth orbits. In this regard the orbital debris team of ARI as a part of Space Standards and Law research group is working on a variety of subjects as categorization, characteristics, tracking and laws of orbital debris. Mathematical simulation and collision probability functions and hazard analysis are the prospective topics of the group's studies.
Iranian National Space Agency (ISA)
Through the establishment of the Iranian National Space Agency, all space-related activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran would be covered by a single organization.
In April 2003, the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran approved a bill for the establishment of the Iranian National Space Agency (ISA). Following that approval, which was the result of a 25-year effort, the Iranian Remote Sensing Center (IRSC), affiliated with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, was given the task of preparing draft bylaws and regulations for the Supreme Space Council and ISA. Pursuant to that plan of work, IRSC commissioned a working team to prepare the drafts. The team prepared and submitted both drafts to IRSC, after the needed studies, investigations and consultations. The Center organized continuous meetings of the Advisory Committee on Space Issues, consisting of specialists, experts and scientists well versed in space technology applications, to discuss the drafts in detail. In the meantime, the Advisory Committee solicited the advice and guidance, as well as the experience, of organizations and experts at the national and international levels. The revised drafts were recently presented to the State Board for final approval and it is hoped that ISA will be established in the very near future.
According to the bill establishing the Agency: "Aiming to apply space technology and peaceful uses of outer space, and protecting national interests and sustained exploitation of space science and technology for economic, cultural, scientific and technical development of the country, the Supreme Space Council with the leadership of the President is being established. The Council's goals include:
- "(a) Policy-making for the application of space technologies aimed at the peaceful uses of outer space;
- "(b) Policy-making in manufacturing, launching and use of national and research satellites;
- "(c) Approving the space-related programmes of state and private institutions and organizations;
- "(d) Approving the long- and short-term programmes of the country's space sector;
- "(e) Promoting partnership between the private and cooperative sectors in efficient uses of space; and
- "(f) Developing guidelines concerning regional and international cooperation in space issues and clarifying the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the above-mentioned bodies."
ISA is a governmental organization and the president of this organization is one of the deputies of the ministry of communication and information technology. ISA is established to do research, design and implementation in the field of space technology ; remote sensing and development of national and international space technology and communication networks. ISA performs the approvals of the Iran space council, which is established in order to peacefully use space technology and science and the above atmosphere space to develop the culture, technology science and finance of the country. The head of ISA is the president of the Islamic Republic of IRAN.