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Zafar - Iran Earth Observation Systems

Iran is preparing to launch a new satellite into space, a government minister said on 03 February 2020, as part of a fledging program that the United States says is a cover for ballistic missile development. The Islamic Republic, which has attempted to launch satellites into space before, had developed this program over the last decade, despite accusations from the U.S. about using this as a cover to build their ballistic missile arsenal.

“We are not afraid of failure and we will not lose hope. With your prayers and trust in God, the Zafar satellite by the end of this week ... will be heading toward an orbit of 530 km from Earth,” Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi stated.

Ian announced 09 Feburary 2020 that it launched a rocket carrying a satellite that failed to reach orbit. Iran's government said that the launch took place at Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan province east of the capital, Tehran. A defense ministry spokesperson said that the failed satellite lacked enough speed to reach orbit at an altitude of 530 kilometers. Tehran insisted that it is for peaceful purposes such as collecting detailed information on terrain for mapping and surveying damage from natural disasters. The launch was planned to coincide with the coming celebration of the February 11 anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

The satellite carrier put Zafar at 540 km of altitude, but the process could not be completed due to the lack of required speed by Simorgh. UN Security Council Resolution 2231 called on Iran to refrain from any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Prior to the Zafar [Victory] launch, Iran had at least two failed satellite launches in 2019. These two satellite launches were monitored closely by the international community, especially the U.S., who has taken a keen interest in the Islamic Republic's program. Iran launched its first satellite Omid (Hope) in 2009 and the Rasad (Observation) satellite was sent into orbit in June 2011. Tehran said in 2012 that it had successfully put its third domestically-made satellite Navid (Promise) into orbit. In February 2015, Iran placed its domestically-made Fajr (Dawn) satellite into orbit, which is capable of taking and transmitting high-quality photos to stations on Earth. In January 2019, the Payam (Message) satellite was launched into space with an aim to collect environmental information; however, technical problems that occurred during the final stage of the launch prevented the spacecraft from reaching orbit.

Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said 19 January 2020 two Zafar (Victory) satellites have successfully passed tests and will soon be launched into space. Azari Jahromi said the Zafar 1 and 2 satellites were being carried later in the day to the space center in central Iran for launch. "Following attempts by young Iranian scientists, the Zafar 1 and 2 satellites, which have successfully passed their tests, will be deployed to the space center today so that the process for putting them in orbit can commence soon," he said. "The satellite and the satellite carrier are both an important research step."

Zafar, designed by Iran University of Science and Technology, is a 113-kilogram remote-sensing satellite equipped with high-resolution cameras capable of monitoring and transmitting data on natural resources as well as agricultural and environmental developments. It is likely to be launched by Simorgh, also called Safir-2, an expendable small-capacity orbital carrier rocket.

The Zafar 1 satellite, which will be placed 500 kilometers above the earth's surface, can orbit the planet 16 times a day, each taking 90 minutes. The difference between Zafar 1 and Zafar 2 is that the latter is equipped with color cameras.

In September 2019, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on the Iran Space Agency, Iran Space Research Center and the Astronautics Research Institute. At the time, the ICT minister posted a photo of the galaxy on his Twitter account and wrote, "I can't even locate the US in this picture, let alone sanctions on Space! The universe & #BrightFuture belong to everyone, not to a few!"

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