Iran’s Ballistic Missile Test Ranges
Satellite Launch Corridor
© C. P. Vick 2008 All Rights Reserved
April 3-12, 2008
Ballistic Missile and Satellite Launch Corridor
Once the ballistic missile systems ranges exceeded the 1,000 km internal range length Iran had to seek a new range extending out into the Arabian Sea and by extension into the Indian Ocean. To date Iran has demonstrated 1,000 - 2,000 – 3,218 km range ballistic missiles but one system is capable of flying 4,000 km. Those ballistic missile test flight with ranges exceeding 1,000 km's used shorter ranges rising to much higher altitudes to complete their burns. Those ballistic missile test flights with ranges exceeding 1,000 km have generally had their true burn time lengths foreshortened to what their actual performance capability is. This was done either to keep the missile performance within the Iranian territory or to avoid other interstate over flight issues outside the in country ranges.
When Iran decided to launch a satellite it was by necessity confined it to a very narrow corridor in order to avoid flying over neighboring countries that also will fly over or close to the Diego Garcia UK bases part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, Chagos Archipelago and the allied US shared facilities in the Indian Ocean south of India. When viewing those longer range ballistic missile performances that were also launched along the same similar satellite launch corridor it showed that the 2,000 km was west of India but the very important No-dong-B/Mirim-Shahab-4, IRBM flew 3,218 km but its warhead was angled aimed for 4,000 km headed directly short of but near the Diego Garcia facilities. It could at last be understood why the No-dong-B performance was cut short. Such launches going beyond 4,000 km or more to orbit would fly close to Diego Garcia at very high altitude. Diego Garcia with its SIGINT and RADAR capability would be directly starring at the ballistic missile launches head short of their way as well as the space launch flight about to fly nearly overhead.
That tight Iranian satellite and long range ballistic missile corridors is dictated by the need to avoid down range impact on the Oman Arabian peninsular or on neighboring Pakistan or Afghanistan and it must fly west of India’s territory to avoid potential down range impact issues. If the space boosters were to fly straight down the middle of the maximum range corridors of Qom and Semnan they would definitely over fly Pakistan which is presumed not acceptable. It confines the launches out of the Semnan range to a launch inclination of about 62-64 degree based on the available imagery evidence and the Iranian confirmation that the satellite launch site is within the Semnan province and that a high inclination satellite orbit is to be used as illustrated in video imagery. Down range potential impact corridor towns may in fact confine the launch inclination even more easterly closer to 63-64 degrees inclination than defined here.
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