Satellites Predicted Delayed & Planned
© C. P. Vick 2010 All Rights Reserved
May 21, 2010
Early in 2010 Iran’s Minister of Communications, Reza Taghipour indicated that Iran is now planning to launch three new satellites of five or six domestically built satellites then under construction to be launched over the next two years. The first launch is expected before March 2011 and may come at the end of 2010 though this remains in doubt.
Iran had previously announced that it was in the process of preparing a total of five to seven satellites some of which were to be foreign launched. Two were to be launched in 2010 with Russian help via a newly signed contract in May 2010 between Iran and Russia.
Those new satellites were the rectangular Ya Mahdi Mehr Navid [good news or promising sign]telecommunications satellite the Tolou [sunrise or dawn] six sides duel purpose remote survey imaging RECSAT/SIGINT, Satellite, and four sided Mesbah-2 [Lantern] telecommunications satellite.
Mesbah-2 [Lantern] Satcom is a 63.5 -70 kilogram three year life capability low Earth orbit solar powered store dump telecommunications satellite utilizing the UHF radio band and its own navigation system which is planned for launch before March 2011.
Deputy PTT Minister Mustafa Safavi described Mesbah as a research satellite for use by universities and research centers during a 31 July 2000 speech in Vienna. The Mesbah satellite was to have been operational by 2003, in cooperation with Italy.
In September 2002 the managing director of Iran's Remote Sensor Center ("markaz-i sanjish az rah-i dur"), Mr. Amidian, announced that Iran was cooperating with China, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Thailand in building a multipurpose satellite that will be launched within the next three years. Parts of the satellite are being built by Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics and by the Ministry of Post, Telegraph, and Telephone.
The Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in cooperation with the Ministry of P.T.T. are fostering the educational and technological development take fundamental steps towards space technology especially in the field of satellite design and manufacturing. To meet this goal, a small research satellite project entitled "MESBAH" was defined for design and development purpose as of a micro-satellite to be launched to a low Earth Orbit (LEO). The main task of this project is to train Iranian specialists and to support Iranian research centers and universities with satellite manufacturing technologies. Objectives of this project includes (1) designing and developing a micro-satellite in amateur radio frequency band to be deployed to LEO with the aim of research, e-mail and store and forward data communication, (2) scientific research works and training task to gain experience and possibility on developing communication satellite system of store and forward type.
In January 2003 Iran announced plans to conduct its first indigenous space launch in 2005. "Within 18 months, Iran will launch its own satellite," Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said. "Iran will be the first Islamic country to enter the stratosphere with its own satellite and its own, indigenous launch system." Shamkhani's assertion was the first time in more than two years that a senior official provided a timetable for the launch.
Shamkhani did not identify the satellite or the booster, but he said the space program was part of Iran's defense efforts. "There was a time when the Persian Gulf was a source of threats against the Islamic republic, but today with the power we have obtained this region can no longer be used against us by any non-regional power," Shamkhani said. "The aerospace capacity of the Islamic republic is one of the main means of deterrence for the country, and is acquired through cooperation between the defense industries and universities."
On 19 February 2003 Iran and Italy signed an agreement to build and launch the `Mesbah' satellite. Under the agreement, which was signed after successful completion of the first phase of the project for designing and building a laboratory model of the satellite, Iranian and Italian experts will cooperate on the project throughout the testing, production and launching stages of the satellite, announced Public Relations Department at Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (SRT). The agreement also envisages the training of Iranian experts by Italian Carlo Gavazzi Space, which is a signatory to the deal with its Iranian partner in the project, the SRT Ministry said. The deal had been proposed by Ministries of SRT and of Post, Telegraph and Telephone (PTT) and is authorized by the Economy Council.
On 02 September 2004 Iranian state television reported that Iran would launch its first satellite into space in April 2005. The satellite, code-named Mesbah (lantern), was shown on TV. Described as being purely for civil purposes, it was said to weigh 60 kilograms (132 pounds) and is cube-shaped which each side measuring 50 centimeters (20 inches). It will be put into orbit at an altitude of 900 kilometers (about 560 miles). "The satellite will be used to identify natural resources, control the electrical and energy network (gas and oil), and later on can be used by communications and crisis management," press reports said. The head of the Islamic republic's Scientific and Industrial Research Center, Seyed Mohammad Fathi, said the project would allow Iran to develop other satellites in the future.
On 20 July 2005 Iran's Deputy minister of communication and information technology (CIT) Hassan Shafti said that the first communication satellite was expected to be launched within the current Iranian year (ending March 2006). The satellite was being constructed in cooperation with Italian experts. Shafti said that out of the five satellites to be constructed, three will be launched to the space over the next three years. The space model of the first satellite scheduled to be launched before March, which is dubbed `Mesbah', was ready.
The second one, which is multi-mission and larger than Mesbah, will be launched in 2006. Turning to participation of China and Thailand in the construction of the second satellite, he put the percentage of Iran's and Thailand's investment shares in the project at 15 and five percent respectively. The multi-purpose small satellite costing $44 million is scheduled to be launched in 2006. Iran will shoulder $6.5 million of the related expenses. The satellite has many potentials and its construction will "increase the national power and improve the lifestyles of future generations" according to Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Head of Iran`s Space Agency Hassan Shafti.
On 27 October 2005 a total of nine micro- and pico-satellites were launched by a Russian Cosmos 3M rocket from Plesetsk at 06:52 UT. There is some confusion about the names. USSTRATCOM in its Website, http://www.space-track.org/perl/home.pl lists nine satellites, including SAFIR. But several other Websites listed a Norwegian picosatellite, NCUBE 2, and an Iranian MESBAH 1. The confusion may be resolved in due course, but by all accounts this launch was not Mesbah. According to USSTRATCOM and Iranian reporting, 2005-043D is Sihah 1, an Iranian microsatellite (170 kg) that was launched by the Cosmos 3M rocket. Iranian press reports that it is intended for "telecommunications and research". There are also a few reports where its name is spelled as Sina-1. The satellite will be mainly used in telecommunication and taking photographs of the earth. Besides, the satellite can be used to photograph the natural disasters, resources and farmlands. It can transmit and receive a limited range of information on VHF and UHF frequencies. The satellite is decorated with Iran's flag and map including the Persian Gulf, which are painted on its exterior.
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