Iran’s Ballistic Missile Test Ranges
Satellite Launch Corridor
© C. P. Vick 2008 All Rights Reserved
April 3-12, 2008
Semnan Satellite Launch Sites and Ballistic Missile Test Range
Only the three separated sites south east of Semnan shows the kind of external characteristics expected. They are the extended 12,000 foot support airstrip and external fences, parameters roads with internal burn surrounded enclosure and pad arrangements. They resemble the Soviet, Chinese and North Korean heritage style semi-mobile pre-surveyed concrete slab launch site with asphalt or prefabricated concrete and crushed rock, gravel roads leading to the facilities associated with the ballistic missile and space booster Research & Development programs. One launch site is clearly the temporary “Safir” space booster proof of principal technology demonstration development site with it connecting roads back to the industrial support infrastructure MIK horizontal Assembly building similar to North Korean and Soviet practices. The industrial support infrastructure MIK horizontal Assembly building is located at 35 degrees 13 minutes 17.68 seconds north and 53 degrees 53 minutes 23.60 seconds east. The second more advanced site then under construction in the 2004 imagery has all the hall marks of the North Korean, Taep’o-dong-2C/3 and Chinese “Long March” launch infrastructure design heritage.
The other numerous site as reflected both southeast of Semnan and at the other national sites reflects the older make shift graded two entrance burn surrounded temporary munitions storage “U” or Box shaped Pre-surveyed launch sites that serve the semi-mobile TEL based Scud, No-dong/Shahab-3A, B and C and Ghadr-110/Ashura heritage ballistic missile systems launches.
Semnan Province Launch Site Location
Iran has declared that the ballistic missile based sounding rocket and satellite launch vehicle site is located in the Semnan province near the “ Salt Desert”. There are a series of launch site groups with several in close proximity of the other site for the Shahab ballistic missile series then east of there is the Safir satellite launch infrastructure and one last facility further east is the infrastructure apparently designed for the North Korean derived Taep-o-dong-2C/3 booster. The launch corridor could be observed by the known down range Tabas ERTS ground based receiving facility and associated range support as well as tracking receiving facilities in the Esfahan region. The actual launch site is south east of Semnan, city region on the edge of the “ Salt Desert”. That narrow satellite launch corridor dictates an exit from Iranian territory over the Makran Coast between the cities of Humedan and Konarak to fly out over the Arabian Sea avoiding India, Pakistan and Oman on the Arabian peninsular.
The primary original ballistic missile and artillery range southeast of Semnan is located in the 35 degree 23 minutes 10.70 seconds north by 53 degrees 44 minutes 52.22 seconds east which is entirely separate from the space launch its infrastructure. More of the artillery range facilities are located in the 35 degrees 13 minutes 22.86 seconds north and 53 degrees 51 minutes 69.74 seconds east.
Semnan Space Satellite Launch Site Locations
The Primary “Safir” space launch sites are believed to be located at 35 degrees 14 minutes 64.56 seconds north and 53 degrees 55 minutes 17.23 seconds east. While the future large mass satellite launch center is expected to be located at 35 degrees 14 minutes 21.60 second north and 53 degrees 57 minutes 07.27 seconds east.
Sites Not Confirmed
Suggestions of more wide spread ballistic missile and satellite launch sites did not immediately make its self apparent from this initial “Google Earth” search. Suggestions of sites near Dasht-e-kabir and south of Damghan and Shahroud east of Torud near the salt desert were not confirmed. The flight tests of the Shahab-3B during August through October 2004 from a flight test rolled out from a military base near Esfahan to a site along the towns of Na’in, Anarak Jandaq, Khvor, is also doubtful and not confirmed from the survey. It would appear that most of the testing has come from the same general regional sites south east of Semnan.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|