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Iran Earth Observation Systems

The background of the country's involvement in the area of applications of space remote sensing techniques and utilization of data acquired by Earth observation satellites goes back to the launch of the first commercial Earth observing satellites (Landsat series).

Nowadays, the Earth resources monitoring and management agencies not only are using almost any available data taken by various Earth resources satellites but also are equipped with the most advanced facilities available for data analysis and integration through the use of GIS.

The main agencies involved in Earth resources remote sensing activities include IRSC (the national coordinating body for Earth observation activities), the Geological and Mineral Research Survey of the Islamic Republic of Iran, affiliated to the Ministry of Mines and Metals, the Forest and Range Organization, the Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Center, the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, the Iranian National Center for Oceanography, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.

To expand its capabilities and to help it meet the increasing demand for newly acquired remotely sensed data from space, IRSC has decided to establish a Multi-Mission Remote Sensing Ground Station, capable of receiving data in both S- and X-band frequencies acquired by existing and future satellites. In this connection, the receiving station for data acquisition from the Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor was put in service early in October 2001 in IRSC. In September 2002, the station was made capable of receiving data from the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite.

In addition to the activities mentioned above, NCC, a national body responsible for topographic base maps and data production, is using GPS, designed for navigation purposes, for projects including the Triangulation Networking and National Leveling Project and its subsequent linkage with regional and international GPS networks, the National 1:25000 scale Topographic Mapping Project, geodesic surveying projects, accurate leveling projects, and the Determination of the Geode of Iran.

Besides NCC, the National Geographical Organization of Iran is also enjoying invaluable archives of various satellite imagery, which has enabled it to offer technical services to other administrative bodies of the country.

Iran will launch its first sensor-operational satellite in 2018, a top official of Iran Space Research Center Hassan Haddadpour said 30 May 2017. Iran acquired the know-how of designing and constructing the satellites inside the country, Haddadpour said. According to the six development plan, the 'Soha' satellite will be launched to promote Iran Space Research Center laboratory.

The official underlined elevation of laboratory capabilities of Iran in a way that it will be able to support bigger satellites weighing 1 tonne. He noted that the Soha satellite will be able to identify things with resolution of 15m and will be deployed in the 36,000-km orbit. "The Doosti satellite will be launched at first and Nahid-1 Telecommunication Satellite will be launched afterwards," IRNA cited Haddadpour as saying.

In January 2000 the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that the Asian Research Satellite would be launched by mid-2000 by China. The Asian Research Satellite is first multilateral research satellite built by Iran in collaboration with Pakistan and four other Asian countries (China, Korea, Indonesia and Mongolia). The manufacturing and launching of the satellite is estimated to cost around $40 million. The satellite will be launched from China and will be set in orbit at 800 km from the earth. In fact, by late 2004 there had been no further reports of this satellite.

The "Friendship" with a precision of 50 meters now, Messenger satellite with a precision of 40 meters, Zafar satellite with a precision of 22.5 meters, and a "Pars 1" satellite with a precision of 15 meters; therefore, the Space Organization Iran plans to design and implement a "Pars 2" satellite with a precision of 5 meters and finally launch a "Pars 3" satellite with a precision of less than 2.5 meters, and by the year 1404 it will achieve the precision measuring satellite technology by one meter.

It is hoped that these goals and plans will be achieved with a 447% increase in the budget of the Iranian Space Research Institute in the bill on the financial document of the next year. The government for the Iranian Space Research Institute predicted a budget of 125 billion and 200 million tomans in Fiscal Year 98, which will substantially increase this sector compared with the numbers of the financial document already approved.

Iran's Communication and Information Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi announced on 19 December 2018 that the country plans to send its first operational satellite into the space in the near future. "Payam-e Amir Kabir satellite will be delivered this week and will be sent into the orbit as the first (operational) satellite and after that, Zafar, another satellite built by the Iran University of Science and Technology should be delivered (to us for launch) as soon as possible," Azari Jahromi said. He also underlined the need for Iranian scientists to build a satellite with a resolution of less than one meter, adding that Payam-e Amir Kabir has a precision power of 45 meters and will stay in orbit for 3 years. Barari underlined that Iran also planned to build a sensing satellite with a 1-meter precision power in 7 years.



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