Iran launches rocket with satellite

Tuesday, 11 Feb, 2020

Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi admitted in a tweet that the launch "failed", adding: "But We're UNSTOPPABLE!"

He did not specify when the satellite would be launched.

Jahromi continued, "More than 80 scientists worked for more than six months to build this satellite with all of the limitations and relying on their confidence". FALCON 9, Juno II, ATLAS, PROTON M, ANTARES are just few samples of U.S. launch failures.

USA officials have, in the past, raised concerns about Iran's satellite programme.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard has unveiled a new ballistic missile, the country's state TV reported Sunday, amid heightened tensions with the U.S.

The launch took place at 7:15 p.m. local time in Iran's Semnan province, at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport.

There are examples of ballistic missiles being repurposed as space launchers, including the R-7, the first intercontinental-range ballistic missile developed by the Soviet Union, which was eventually repurposed to launch satellites, including Sputnik-1, the first artificial satellite.

Reports said the rocket that attempted to carry the satellite into a low orbit around the Earth was a two-stage, liquid-fueled Iranian rocket known as a Simorgh space-launch vehicle.

Tehran denies that is program is being used for anything other than defensive purposes, but its actions belie those words.

Khamenei, who dismissed the USA sanctions as a "criminal act", has banned Iranian officials from holding talks unless the United States returns to the deal and lifts all sanctions.

Iran "successfully" launched a satellite into space on Sunday but it fell short of reaching orbit, state television quoted a defence ministry spokesman as saying. His quick rise through the Islamic Republic's carefully managed political system already is generating speculation he could be a candidate for Iran's 2021 presidential campaign.

And, in August of a year ago, a rocket apparently exploded on the pad at Imam Khomeini Space Center, spawning smoke and wreckage that was spotted from space, by satellites operated by San Francisco-based company Planet. However, malfunctions meant they did not reach escape velocity.

Western missile experts have also questioned the U.S. contention that Iran's program could have a dual use for nuclear weapons.

"In defiance of the worldwide community and UNSCR 2231, Iran's regime fired off a space launch vehicle today. The launch yet again shows that Iran is pursuing enhanced missile capabilities that threaten Europe and the Middle East", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter at the time.

It also comes at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington, after a January 3 United States drone strike killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.

Addressing the air force personnel, Khamenei said that "during the past regime, the Air Force was one of the closest forces to the central authority and the United States".