Iran's aerospace at a glance: late but fast


TEHRAN- Iran took its initial steps in the aerospace industry in 1959, along with Iran becoming a member of the United Nations. It opened a national remote sensing center in Tehran under a program named "human use in outer space".

In addition to performing remote sensing, the national remote sensing center was also responsible for determining suitable sites for launching various space sectors, including information receiving and satellite launching bases.

Iran experienced many ups and downs in launching satellites. In 1977, Iranian experts decided to launch a satellite after passing various courses, but the decision was postponed until 1986 when the sanctions fell short in comparison with Iranian experts’ will and Iran booked three orbits for its three satellites.  

According to the fourth development plan, Iran must launch one satellite every year. Currently, the three orbital points (26, 34, 47 degrees east) are registered in the name of Iran in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Iranian satellites: a to z

The Zohreh satellite, officially known as Venus, was supposed to be a telecommunication satellite. The satellite was planned to be launched with the cooperation of Russia. Services like telephone, fax, data communications, radio, and television broadcasting were supposed to be provided with the Zohreh satellite. Unfortunately, it was not launched and Iran missed the so-called services.

In October 2005, the Sina satellite entered space and Iran became the 43rd country that owns a satellite. The Sina satellite was built with the cooperation of the Russian companies, Pilot and Ap Tec, Electro-Optic Sairan Industries Company, and Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.  Sina is a research satellite that is used to study underground resources and the consequences of unexpected events.

The ministries of science and ICT (information and communications technology) signed an agreement for the construction of the Mesbah satellite. The construction of a laboratory sample began, and the Mesbah satellite project was implemented. In May 2001, the construction of the laboratory sample of the satellite was finished.   

Mesbah project’s implementation could have placed Iran among the 15 countries with the technical knowledge to build and design satellites. Finally, the first Iranian Mesbah satellite, which was built with the help of Italy, arrived in Iran on July 28, 2005, and was unveiled nine days later with the presence of the ICT minister, but it was never launched.

The Omid satellite, meaning “hope”, was launched on February 2, 2009. It circles the Earth 15 times every 24 hours and sends reports to the stations in Iran. NASA also confirmed that Omid’s launch was a success. Omid is a light satellite, which establishes mutual communication between the satellite and the ground station, determining the orbital characteristics and telemetry of the subsystems.

The Rasad satellite, meaning “observation”, was launched on June 15, 2011. It supplied its electricity from solar panels attached to the wall of the satellite and its batteries. The ground stations of the Rasad satellite were designed in such a way that they had the highest access to the Rasad to receive information and send control commands. Communicating with ground stations, photographing the ground and sending images along with telemetry information to ground stations were among the missions of the Rasad satellite. 

The Navid satellite, launched on February 3, 2012, uses 1B class and weighs 50 kg. It is at an altitude of 370 km with 2 months operational life. It passes Iran's sky 6 times every 24 hours. Navid was designed by Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST). Its mission is to take images of the earth's surface in the visible spectrum with a resolution suitable for the assigned mission and send them to the ground stations.

The Fajr satellite, meaning “dawn”, was launched on February 2, 2015. It has sent high-precision images to the ground station so far. Its missions include orbital transfer, photography for mapping, meteorology and some research purposes. 

The Payam satellite, meaning “message”, was launched with the Iranian satellite Simorgh on January 15, 2019, but according to the announcement of Mohammad Javad Azari Jahormi, Iran’s Minister of Communications at that time, the Payam has not been put into orbit and its launch was not successful. It weighs 100 kilograms and was designed and built to carry out the imaging mission. The orbital height designed for the Payam satellite is 500 kilometers, with an orbital inclination of 55 degrees. The Payam satellite was predicted to stay in the Earth's orbit for about three years. 

Iran’s aerospace in Westerners’ eyes

The establishment and development of satellite infrastructure are among the priorities of the Iranian Space Agency, which can place Iran as the first country in the region and the 16th in the world in case the complete stabilization of the space technology cycle in this field is achieved. 

In the meantime, the American government and some European allies are strongly against Iran's efforts to acquire space technology, especially in indigenous launch tools. Mike Pompeo, the former U.S. Secretary of State, claimed that the development of tools for launching satellites is for the development of Iran's ballistic missile capability.
He added that the so-called development violates UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Iran, rejecting the claims of the Washington authorities regarding the violation of Resolution 2231, has considered the development of missile and space capability as its right.

Importance of aerospace in Iran

The comprehensive document of Iran’s aerospace development includes plans in the aerospace field; for example, paragraph 1 of the 5th chapter emphasizes space discoveries. According to the second paragraph, Iran should achieve the top rank in the region in the field of space conquest and mastery through relevant sciences and technologies by using the capabilities of the country's universities and scientific and research centers. The third paragraph focuses on sending humans to space. 

On August 24, 2016, during a meeting with President Rouhani and his cabinet members, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution pointed to the progress in aerospace, nuclear issues, nano, and biotechnology.

The launching of the Omid satellite on February 2, 2009, is called National Aerospace Day.

Importance of aerospace in the world

The aerospace industry is crucial for the global economy, generating billions of dollars in revenue and employing millions of people. This industry supports the civilian aviation sector, providing passenger aircraft and cargo planes for travel and commerce.

Aerospace industries design, manufacture, test, sell, and maintain airplanes, helicopters, rockets, satellites, spacecraft, and their parts. This industry is also a scientific, engineering and commercial effort by humans to travel to the atmosphere and beyond the atmosphere to exploit its benefits.
In the past century, the world has witnessed the rapid progress of science and technology. This rapid progress has enhanced the level of well-being for people. It has improved the standards of living and provided services to citizens in the aviation industry. 

The United States Space Force (US SF) was founded on December 20, 2019. It is the space branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and the world’s only dedicated independent space force.

culled from Tehran Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *