Qased / Ghased [ “Messenger”] Space Launch Vehicle
The Nour-1 multi-purpose satellite was launched 22 April 2020 on board Ghased [ “Messenger”] three-stage satellite carrier from Shahroud region. The Qased looked like a Safir-based first stage, based on the Shahab-3 SRBM or Emad SRBM, with a Salman upper stage on top of it. In 2009 Iran successfully used the Nodong for its Safir SLV improved with R-27 tech. but was forced to elongate tanks. In 2020 Iran successfully retrofitted a Ghadr to Qased by using Salman technology. Safir would have put the satellite 250 kilometer above the Earth's surface, and Qased managed to reach to 435 kilometers. To minimize risk an already-tested liquid-fuel engine was used as #Qased's 1st stage. And only newly built 2nd & 3rd solid-fuel engines were put to test. Iran's Nour 2 recon satellite will be launched by a more powerful & compact 'all' solid-fuel carrier to a higher orbit.
The satellite was developed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Previously, foreign observers were not aware of the existence of an IRGC-run space program, thoguh the IRGC has been responsible for long range missile development. While the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces provided support, as the custodian of liquid fuel launchers, the IRGC also defined a space launcher development program to meet the country's vast space needs. The IRGC's space program was based on solid fuel propulsion, which is more directl applicable to missile applications.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist and amateur satellite tracker, told SpacePolicyOnline.com that the thing that surprised him most about the Noor-1’s launch was that it confirmed the existence of a separate, and apparently successful Iranian military space programme. Furthermore, he said, the Qased’s “solid upper stages are new, so it’s a bit surprising they worked the first time.”
t Donald Trump appeared to dismiss the significance of the launch, boasting at a press conference Wednesday that US intelligence knows “more about Iran than they do,” and stressing that the US “knew it was going up” and “followed it very closely.” According to Trump, Tehran carried out the launch for publicity.
Iran's indigenous ballistic-missile program began in 1986, when the Revolutionary Guards created a “self-sufficiency unit” to develop military industries that would not require assistance from other countries. Headed by Gen. Hassan Tehrani-Moghaddam, the “founding father” of the Iranian missile program, the unit was a research-and-development facility for missile technology. Tehrani-Moghaddam was killed in November 2011 in an explosion in his research office at the Alghadir missile base at Bid Ganeh, near Tehran, reportedly in an operation carried out by the Mossad. That devastating explosion killed 17 Revolutionary Guard soldiers and injured 16 others hospitalized.
It was said that the ultimate goal of the Shahid Tehrani Moghaddam team and the space program of the IRGC was to build four vertical steps with a diameter of 3.5 meters and a height of 20 meters in the first stage to put the satellites in a 1000 km parking lot. No information has been released on the dimensions of the next steps of the satellite, but it has been announced that these steps have been tested separately. By injecting satellites into the orbit and then changing the orbit by the satellite's propulsion, it is possible to place the satellite in much higher orbits up to 36,000 kilometers, geostationary orbit.
The launch put an end to the recent string of launch failures in the Iranian space industry over the past five years, with the last successful civilian satellite launch taking place in 2015.
Russia dismissed as “baseless” claims by the United States that the recent launch of Iran’s first-ever military satellite by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) violates a United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quick to condemn the launch as a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
"This would not be the first time that a nation that has flagrantly breached the norms of international law and violated UNSC resolution 2231 is trying to deflect international condemnation by baselessly accusing Iran of noncompliance with the requirements of the Security Council," Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying at a briefing on 24 April 2020.
She noted that neither the resolution nor the 2015 Iran nuclear deal restrict Iran’s right to explore space to peaceful ends. She added that Iran has made it clear that it does not intend to develop nuclear weapons, unlike the US, which has over the past months unveiled several plans to expand its nuclear arsenal. “There are no, there have never been, and hopefully there will never be nuclear weapons in Iran. Iran, adhering to the resolution, does not develop, test or use ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, unlike the United States, which surprises the world every single day with news about plans to develop their nuclear missile capabilities," she said.
Based on state media images, the Qased launch appeared to have been conducted at a previously unnamed IRGC base near Shahroud, Iran, some 330km (205 miles) northeast of Tehran. The base is in Semnan province, which hosts the Imam Khomeini Spaceport, from which Iran's civilian space program operates.