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Simorgh-3 Space Launch Vehicle

The 2.5 meter first stage of the Simorgh is somewhat larger than the 2.2 meter diameter KN-22 / Hwasong 15 ICBM. The first stage of the Iranian vehicle appears to have four thrust chambers, while the North Korean vehicle appears to have only two, so they are not indentical. The difference between a military missile and a civilian space launcher is attitude, not altitude. UNSCR 2231 calls on Iran to refrain from conducting activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches. Space launch vehicles use technology that is very similar to that used for ballistic missiles, in particular for intercontinental ballistic missiles. Even a failed space launch attempt, involving the failure of an upper stage, would provide an opportunity to test and perfect the lower stages of a rocket intended to carry a nuclear warhead. A failed space launch attempt might also be s successful missile flight test.

The first stage of the Simorgh-3 space launch vehicle is nearly identical with North Korea's Taep'o-dong 2 (TD-2). A number of arguments have been adduced to dispute this connection, but they are no better than spurious quibles. As in the past, North Korea is evading a purported missile test moratorium by testing missiles in Iran.

On 09 February 2020 Iran attempted to launch a domestically-built satellite - which failed, however, to reach orbit. The launch of the satellite happened at 7:15pm local time at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran's Semnan province, some 230km (145 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. State television said, however, that a Simorgh rocket could not put the Zafar 1 communications satellite into orbit due to a low speed. "Stage-1 and stage-2 motors of the carrier functioned properly and the satellite was successfully detached from its carrier, but at the end of its path it did not reach the required speed for being put in the orbit," Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for the defence ministry's space programme, told state television.

Imam Khomeini Space Center, Semnan province Imam Khomeini Space Center, Semnan province

Tehran appears to have attempted a second satellite launch despite US criticism that Iran's space program is helping the country develop ballistic missiles, satellite images suggest, according to The Times of Israel. Iran has not yet confirmed conducting such a launch. The Times of Israel reported 07 February 2019 that images released by the Colorado-based company DigitalGlobe show a rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan Province on 5 February. According to the DigitalGlobe, the images suggest Iran used a Safir, or "ambassador" rocket in the launch. Images from 6 February show the rocket was gone and with what appears to be burn marks on the launch pad.

Iran attempted on 15 January 2019 to launch Payam satellite into orbit but the rocketís third stage failed to provide enough speed to reach the orbit.

Imam Khomeini Space Center, Semnan province Imam Khomeini Space Center, Semnan province

Origin Iran
Possessed by Iran
Class Space launch vehicle (SLV)
Basing Land-based
Length 27 m
Diameter 2.0-2.3 m (first-stage), 1.25 m (second-stage)
Launch weight 70,000-87,000 kg
Payload 250 kg satellite
Propulsion Two-stage, liquid propellant
Range 500 km altitude (low-orbit)
Iran was preparing to launch an observation satellite from the Khomeini Space Center in Samanan, the (ImageSat International ISI reported, based on satellite images taken on 11 January 2019. The missile carrying the satellite called the Satellite Vehicle Launcher was already in the assembly site. It also appeared that the launch site itself was already ready for the missile and launcher to be transferred from the assembly site.

CNN had released satellite images indicating that Iran was preparing to launch a satellite into space. The imagery showed activity at the Khomeini Space Center, and according to experts in the field, this is similar to the operation that was carried out before the launch of the previous satellite two years ago. It should be noted that intelligence agencies had no indication that the launching was for military purposes.

Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei admitted on the same day that "American sanctions are putting pressure on Iran and its citizens." "The Americans happily declare that these are unprecedented sanctions," Khamenei added. "They are indeed unprecedented - and so will the American defeat, with the help of God."

France called on Iran to immediately cease all activities related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Iranian President Hassan Rowhani announcedthat Iranian missiles would soon be able to carry a satellite into space. "France reminds us that Iran's missile program is against the Security Council resolution," French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Mohl said. "We call on Iran to immediately cease all nuclear-related activities, including testing of ballistic missile technology." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasami called on France not to repeat these statements and claimed that the Iranian plan was for defense purposes and did not violate UN resolutions.

The United States condemned the preparations for the launch of the satellite because the missile's launch violated the UN's restrictions on the development of advanced missiles.

Simorgh-3 IRISLV-X Booster Simorgh-3 IRISLV-X Booster Simorgh-3 IRISLV-X Booster

Iran successfully launched its domestically-manufactured Simorgh space launch vehicle carrier, whose mission is to put Iranian satellites into the orbit. The Simorgh satellite carrier is able to put satellites weighing as much as 250 kilograms at an orbit about 500 kilometers above the Earthís surface. The first stage clearly has 4 Vernierís and 4 main thrust chambers, like DPRK Unha-3.

US official confirmed Iran launched rocket with satellite toward outer space at roughly 5:30 am et/2:00 pm local. Jul 27, 2017. The launch was carried out by Imam Khomeini Space Center. The Imam Khomeini Space Center is responsible for all operations related to satellite carriers, including preparation, launch, control and steering. Iran's Imam Khomeini Space Center conforms to the latest international standards and after final phase of its development, the base will be able to meet all the countryís needs at Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The launch signalled the official inauguration of Imam Khomeini Space Center.

Simorgh-3 IRISLV-X? Booster Family
© C. P. Vick 2010 All Rights Reserved )
Senior Technical & Space Policy Analyst,
9-1, 2010,3-29, & 12-7-2013
Simorgh-3 IRSILV-X {Phoenix-3}, Block-I ,Block-II

The Simorgh-3 displayed two stage and future three stage Simorgh-3, 4 IRILV is a continuation of the Scud-D / No-dong-A, No-dong-B and Shahab-5 / 6 / Taep’o-dong-2B / Unha-2 missile design and propulsion systems technology jointly developed by Iran and North Korea. It utilizes a new generation of liquid rocket engines developed from the No-dong-A that was subsequently flight tested under the series known as the Shahab-3A, 3B, 3C & Safir IRILV flight vehicles. Iran displayed Simorgh-3 in it's mock-up form on its “Space Technology Day” 2/3/2010. It had some obvious design errors especially in the first stage fins position (45 degrees out) as well as not giving its true height and diameters as displayed. The displayed model was not the suggested 2.27 meter height. The fins could very well be eliminated from the final design all together in the future because North Korea has demonstrated this viability. It's launch pad was said to be in the planning stage in early May 2010 with the suitable site identified among several available. This strongly indicated that its construction has not started in spite of some European suggestions to the contrary. It also revealed indirectly on June 8, 2010 that the Simorgh-3 IRILV Booster is expected to fly in 2012.

The block-II Simorgh which may become the Sepehr booster may utilize four Shahab-3 liquid propellant or a clustered of 6-8 solid motor Fateh-110 (Victorious-110; also known as the NP-110) as strap-on boosters

Suggested Simorgh-3 Block-1, Simorgh-4 Block-II IRISLV-X? Data

Simorgh-4 IRILV {Phoenix-3}, Block-II, Unha-2/Taep’o-dong-2 or three stage Simorgh-3?

Height overall 25.97 meters with two stages and 27.2 meters three-four stages
Height 1st. stage 17.8 meters with its overlapping inter stage and second stage greater than 8.158 meters
Diameter 1st. stage 2.48 meters
Diameter 2nd. stage 1.5 meters
Launch Mass overall two stages 85 tonnes
1 St. Launch Thrust SL Suggested 143 tonnes from Iran. 128 tonnes f + 4 Vernier's 15 tonnes f each = 188 tonnes f sea level or 142 tonnes + 4 Vernier's 15 tonnes f each =202 tonnes f sea level
2 nd. Stage Thrust 7.2 tonnes f vacuum with two thrust chambers set on swivel gimbals mounts and one auxiliary pump engine from No-dong-B.
Control engines thrust 15 tonnes f vacuum.
Propellants = Oxidizer AK-27I 27% N2O4 + 73% HNO3 with Iodium inhibitor Nitrogen Tetroxide & Nitric Acid
Propellants = Fuel TM-185 20% Gasoline, 80% Kerosene or UDMH?
Payload capacity 100 kilograms to 500 kilometer LEO orbit and with the Block-II 700 & 1,000 kilometers orbit with the three, four stage Block-II Bus third fourth stage becomes possible for relative small mass satellites. This Kick-Motor BUS third stage with 100 kilograms of solid propellant & fourth stage can also accommodate small mass 35,786 kilometer GTO equatorial satellite launches with strap-on boosters added. Thus the Toloo and Zafar satellites become possible. Iran is planning on 1 tonne satellites in the 2016-2020 five year plan.

Tonne's = metric tons.

This basic minimum Simorgh-3 booster represents a serious growth potential launch vehicle design concept derived from the Taep’o-dong-2B first stage and the No-dong-B derived 1.35 meter diameter Safir IRILV as its second stage. At this early stage in its development it is apparent that the displayed mock-up may not be so reliable in its design details. Only time will address this issue and show its probable resemblance to the Unha-2 booster heritage.

Speculation on Growth Potential Sigmorgh-3 Systems Design

The potential evolution of the Simorgh Family of boosters leading to possible manned spaceflight and a full range ICBM development would be consistent with previous development s in other countries.

Beyond the display of the two stage Simorgh-3 block-1, a second variant Simorgh-3/Block-II is expected to be a three stage variant based on the solid motor third stage of the Unha-2 launch vehicle.

Simorgh-4/5 IRILV {Phoenix-3}, Block-II

That could be followed by the replacement of the Simorgh-3’s second stage with a Unha-2/No-dong-B second stage 1.5 meter diameter along with the Unha-2 1.35 meter diameter third stage would constitute the Taep’o-dong-2B booster design a limited range ICBM. Below one sees the overall relationship to the Simorgh systems.

Comparisons North Korean (DPRK) and Iranian ballistic missiles & Space boosters through 2013

Unha-2, Taep'o-dong-2B

Unha-2, Taep'o-dong-2B Final design

Simorgh-5/6 IRILV {Phoenix-3}, Block-III

After that a further design development could potentially lead to a full range ICBM and manned spaceflight system payload with a new second and third stage of constant diameter design like its first stage.

Two and Three Stage Space Boosters

Iran is moving forward with the development of not merely two stage boosters ballistic missile but is as previously predicted headed for the development of three stage boosters for space application leading the ballistic missile program developments. The three stage system is to place satellites in 1,000 kilometers orbit. Previously they orbited satellites to 250 kilometers and plan to place them in 700 kilometer orbits in 2011. It was also indicated that with in five to six years Iran would be placing telecommunications satellites into 35,000 kilometer geostationary orbit.

Simorgh-6/7 IRILV {Phoenix-3}, Block-IV

Beyond this lies the potential for a two first stage strap-on booster configuration with the constant diameter three stage core that could constitute a much larger performance triple barrel heavy booster design based on the Simorgh-5/6 concept as developed in the west under various launch vehicle programs that never made it past the concept stage. Only time will tell what form the future Iranian space program launch vehicle will evolve.

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Page last modified: 10-02-2020 18:46:39 ZULU