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Second “Safir-E Omid”

(Emissary of Hope)

Booster Orbital Launch Attempt

© By Charles P. Vick (All Rights Reserved)

08-19-28, 2008

Disclaimer The opinions and evaluations stated here in are only the authors and cannot be construed to reflect those of any Government agency, company, institute or association. It is based on public information, circumstantial evidence, informed speculation, declassified U.S. intelligence community documents, official Iranian and North Korean government documents and histories, oral histories, interviews and reverse engineering analysis. As with all data regarding the Iranian and North Korean strategic space and ballistic missile programs, this analysis is subject to revision--and represents a work in progress. It reflects the total open source analysis process and previous studies using the same information analysis process.


Several months behind their publicly announced space program planning schedule Iran tried once again to launch a Safir (Messenger or Ambassador or Emissary or Envoy) booster with a test payload into earth orbit. See the following internet link on Iranian State space planning and scheduling issues (http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/world/iran/planning.htm). The booster is capable of placing a light satellite into a 250-500 km high inclination orbit. Fortunately for the world they as expected failed once again. They were continuing to attempt to try and perfect the basic technologies for satellite launching into Earth orbit with a modest but marginal multi stage booster design that will also help the ballistic missile development program goals.

On August 16 th the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey stated that Iran hoped “….very soon to launch our first Iranian made satellite.” He also added the remarks that “This satellite, the rocket that would launch it, and the land station from which it would be launched are entirely made in Iran, by the talented Iranian scientists and technicians before the end of next week.”

Omid (Hope) the Intended Future Light Weigh Satellite

The Islamic Republic of Iran was attempting to launch a small limited life development test satellite/telemetry package into space as a test vehicle prior to the launch of a future “light weight satellite”. They are eventually expected to launch a limited life small communications satellite called “Omid” (Hope) which is planned to be placed into a 250-650 kilometer high inclination 62-65 degree orbit that would be anticipated to make six passes over Iran daily. The rectangular box shaped satellites will have no solar arrays only batteries with insulation both internally and externally visible (as like in the engineering models currently displayed in photographs and broadcast on national television). The internal black box instrumentation is design for gather atmospheric data and communications task from low Earth orbit with external transmitting receiving antennas.

Delayed Announcement

From the accumulated evidence, Iran did indeed attempt to place a test payload into Earth orbit on Saturday evening August 16, 2008 with its launch at about 23:30 P.M. Tehran, Iran time 19:00 GMT (at night). Not until around 15:30 BST, 14:30 GMT or early mid morning U.S. Eastern Time on Sunday August 17, 2008 when the public broadcast began to come in from what was shown to the Iranian audience on TV was the world informed. That would have been a launch time of (but there has been no confirmed time of launch) 23.30 Tehran time US Eastern Time 15:00 , BST 20:00 , GMT 19:00 Tehran (GMT plus 4.30) 23.30 P. M. Darkness in Iran begins at around 16:00 BST, 15:00 GMT . The time between the launch and when the world along with the Iranian people were informed of this event was considerably longer than would have been expected under normal practices indicating a lapse of over 19 hours. Why? This was presumably so because they themselves were initially not sure of what had happened and, secondly, to concoct suitably plausible – as well as contradictory - cover stories for both domestic and international consumption.

The point being is that the Iranians never released any orbital data on the apogee, perigee, inclination or period of its supposed satellite orbiting clearly indicating failure to achieve orbit for at least a second time in the flight testing program. This was even though the rocket achieved well above the altitude to say they were indeed technically in space but not in orbit. However, with this launch the Iranians demonstrated a marked improvement over the first attempt that apparently took place on February 4, 2008 but failed at staging. Iran substituted the Kavoshgar-1 (Explorer-1) vertical probe rocket [Ghadr-1/Shahab-3C] in place of the Safir-A launch failure based on video footage available. (8) The Safir booster apparently failed on its maiden flight back on February 4, 2008 and probably an additional time in between (although I have no confirmatory evidence on that second attempt so I discount it), but I do wonder since they are several months behind the State announced ambitious schedule. Soon afterwards the announcements were corrected from the prepared press releases to “a satellite carrier rocket capable of carrying a satellite” which supposedly was what the test flight was about. Why risk the satellite on an unproven rocket being flight tested becomes the question?

CPV 08-28-08

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