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Planned Iranian Developed of Ten Satellites

© By Charles P. Vick (All Rights Reserved)

Senior Technical & Policy Analyst

07-21-10/ 03-07/25-11/ 5-20-11/ 12-7-13


Previously Iran had announced the development of the too be launched satellites named Mesbah-2 [Lantern] SatCom, Tolou [Sunrise] reconnaissance satellite, and Mehr Navid–e-Elm-0-Sanat (Good News and or Promising Sign or Promise of Science and Industry) telecommunications satellite in addition to the Rasad-1 (Observation-1) earth observation imaging satellite. To those satellites Iran has added the following three new research satellites named Fajr (Dawn, Victory) reconnaissance post boost maneuvering satellite, Zafar (Victory) imaging satellite and Amir Kabir-1. Most or all of these satellites are based on solar power energy systems for extended satellite life operations and are planned to be launch by March 20, 2011-2012, of the Iranian year in the West called 2011-2012. The purpose and mission requirements of several of these satellites have not been fully defined but must be assumed to be military and or S&T related. Iran is known to be working on a total of nine satellites one with Russia and one with the Pacific Rim countries.

Safir (Emissary) IRILV Islamic Republic of Iran Launch Vehicle Safir Flight Record, Iranian Satellite Programs

Name Mass Orbit Inclination Success/Failure  
1. Unknown       pre Omid Engineering satellites
1A Omid-X       Launch failure 2-4-08
1B Omid XI       Launch failure 8-16/17-08
2. Omid-1 27 kgs 245 x 387 kms orbit 55.5 degrees inclination successfully orbited 2-2-09
3. Rasid-1 15 kgs

243 x 292 kms orbit 55.7 degrees inclination successfully orbited 6-15-11
4. Rasid-2       Status unknown
5. Fajr-1       Launch failure 5-23, 2012
6. Fajr-2       Launch failure 9-22, 2012
7. Fajr-3       Launch Failure 2-17/18, 2013
8. Navid-ST 50 kg 250 x 375 kms 55 degrees inclination successfully orbited 2-3-12
9. Pars-2   695 kms SSO   Status unknown
10. Mesbab-2 65 kgs     Status unknown
11. Masude-2       Status unknown
12. Aut-Sat/Test-A   500 kms   Status unknown
13. Zafar 90 kgs 500 kms 55 degrees inclination Status unknown
14. Nahid 50 kgs

250 x 370 kms> 55 degrees inclination Status unknown
15. Toloo 80-100 kgs     Status unknown
16. GTO/GES COMSAT       Status unknown
 17. Sharif  <50 kgs  350-500 kms    Pending
 18. Tadbi rupgrade Navid-ST 50 kg 250 x 375 kms 55 degrees inclination Pending

Fajr (Dawn) Reconnaissance Satellite

It was also suggested at about the same time that the launch of Rasad-1was discussed that it would be quickly followed by the launch of the Fajr (Dawn) reconnaissance post boost maneuvering remote sensing & topography satellite. The Fajr satellite is reportedly designed so it can manoeuver from an elliptical orbit of 300-450 kilometers to a circular orbit of 450 kilometers giving the satellite a life expectancy 1.5 years. This will be launched by what amounts to a three stage Safir-1B booster with the last stage being the satellite payload together with its post boost propulsion package presumably built together.

Previous Reporting From 2009-2010.

Iran early in 2010 both displayed and announced plan to launch three satellites named Mesbah-2 [Lantern], Tolou [Sunrise or Dawn], and Mehr Navid–e-Elm-0-Sanat (Good News and or Promising Sign) they have now added on June 8, 2010 the Rasad-1 satellite. The second Iranian satellite launch utilizing the Rasad-1 satellite is presently planned for launch during the period of August 24-30, 2010, according to Reze Taiqpour the Telecommunications and Information Technology, Minister. That is during the so called “Government Week” according to this regime celebration. All of the expected 5-6 satellites are supposed to be launch before the end of March 2011 specifically before March 21, 2011. Iran’s first satellite launch was February 2, 2009 with the satellite Omid (Hope).

The Rasad-1 satellite is an experimental observation satellite based on the information received with further detailed announcement on it and other satellites planned for launch is expected soon.

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 21, 2011 the Iranian new years and may come before the end of 2010.

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 dual purpose remote survey imaging RECSAT/SIGINT, Satellite, and four sided Mesbah-2 [Lantern] telecommunications satellite.

Rasad-1 [Observation] the Rasad-1 satellite is an experimental observation satellite capable of transmitting images and data.

Mesbah-2 [Lantern] Comsat is a 63.5 -70 kilogram three-five year life capability, 600 kilometer 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. It is planned to be launched in two years though the Italian Carlo Gavazzi Space (CGS) has not delivered the satellite because of UN sanctions and MTCR issues.

Tolou [Sunrise or Dawn] 80-100 kilograms, [220 pound] satellite is solar powered and will be placed into a 400-500 kilometer [310 mile] high orbit and is designed to operate for three years with the Chinese derived design technology utilized with the CCD camera data-imaging transmission system. It will be launched on a Simorgh-3 (Phoenix) booster on a long pole for a gravity gradient payload reconnaissance satellite designed by SAIRAN known as the Iran Electronics Industries part of the defense ministry. The Simorgh-3 (Phoenix) booster is planned for launch of the satellite in two years with a (Phoenix) Simorgh satellite of 80 kilograms. It is alsointended to launch the Tolou which is to gather climatic data on conditions and geographic positioning of oil and gas pipe lines among other strategic objectives through its remote sensing onboard equipment for a scheduled launch in late January 2012.

Iran’s Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi described the Tolou as Iran’s first identified reconnaissance Satellite, SIGINT Satellite. In describing its capabilities emphasis was placed on the ability of the satellite to identify an adversary’s software, hardware and their movements.

Mehr Navid–e-Elm-0-Sanat (Good News and or Promising Sign) telecommunications satellite appears to be a store dump operational capability design similar to the Mesbah-2 and is solar powered. The Ya Mahdi (student experimental satellite developed in cooperation between the Iranian Space Agency and Iranian Universities) was described as a test satellite for cameras and telecommunications equipment.

Iran’s Second Satellite Launch Major Delayed?

© By Charles P. Vick (All Rights Reserved)

Senior Technical Analyst


Iran has missed it publicly stated State Planned summer 2009 satellite launch schedule to no surprise. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a special February 2009 visit to the Russian Federation pleaded with the Russian, Federal Space Agency to launch the Mesbah-2 [Lantern] satellite for them using a Kosmos booster. Russia’s Federal Space Agency continues to refuse to cooperate further on space and nuclear issues to a large degree with Iran because of UN ordered sanctions and trade embargo requirements.

Starting in February 2003 both Iran and Italy cooperated in developing the Mesbah communications satellite. It first attempted launch failed in 2005 according to Taqipour because "they lacked the self-sufficiency in aerospace technology" It will not be launch from the Iran launch center on an Iranian launch vehicle. Iran successfully orbited its Omid data processing satellite on February 2, 2009. In 2005 Iran's first satellite the Sina-1 with its telecommunications and photographic equipment was launched by Russia. The first Mesbah-1 [Lantern] satellite was in fact lost in a launch mishap in 2005. Subsequently a satellite developed by Iran, China and Thailand was orbited. When Iran requested that Italian’s Carlo Gavazzi Space company that cooperated in developing and manufacturing of the satellite also launch it they refused the request offer saying it was impossible and not planned. This was contrary to General Mahdi Farahi the new head of the Aerospace Industries suggestion of a launch after March 2011. The satellite is still at the company facilities in Italy. Iran then suggested that the launch would be made by Iran with no outside help since Italy and Russia decided not to do it, but Iran would have to build another version of the design for itself since Italy still has the satellite and no export license will be granted by Italy. They were not about to jeopardize their space business opportunities in the face of UN sanctions.

So it would appear that Iran is attempting to produce the satellite themselves through various means it has previously used to circumvent the world denial. It may also be possible that Iran is moving to and augmented version of the Safir-2 Block-II Class space booster with possible solid motor strap-ones boosters and a solid motor third stage that was suggested would appear in 2010.

Iran is ahead in some respect to North Korea missile technology wise especially in Solid Propellant technology. Iran has not fully taken on the more difficult Unha-2/Taep'o-dong-2 booster testing leaving it to North Korea to perfect with their cooperation. This is even though they have the propulsion systems for that launch vehicle in hand. Iran's solid propellant programs as well as the Shahab-6/ Unha-2/Taep'o-dong-2 program are all delayed by technological issues.

Thank You.

I need to thank John Locker of the UK for providing the heads up on the Iranian TV programming activities as well as Nicholas Badenhorst of SA for the heads up on the press notification on the pending launch.


1. Iranian Scientists Brace for Another Spaceshot, IG Moderator, Iran, Oct 12, 2009, p. 1-2,

2. Tehran Times, Iranian Scientists Brace for another Spaceshot, Oct. 13, 2009, P. 1-2.

3. By Nasser Karimi, Iran turns to Italy to launch satellite, AP, Tehran Iran, Nov. 11, 2009, p.1-2

4. Italian company says no launch for Iran satellite, AP, Rome, Nov 12, 2009, p.1.

5. By Ali Akbar Dareini, Iran to launch satellite on its own by late 2011, AP, Tehran, Iran, Nov. 20-2009, p. 1-2