The director of the Iranian Space Agency announced on Tuesday that the Islamic
Republic will construct a new space center in the southeast of the
Dr. Hamid Fazeli did not specify the location of the new space
center, but said its location was chosen to be as close as possible to the
equator to make it easier to launch rockets into space.
Mashregh News, which is affiliated with the IRGC, Fazeli also said Iran plans to
launch three domestically- produced satellites: the Fajr (Dawn), Sharif (Noble)
and Nahid (Venus).
Fajr is a 50-kilogram satellite constructed by the
Iranian Electronics Industry to carry an imaging payload, with a resolution of
500-1,000 meters and a lifespan of 18 months, the report said.
manufactured by the Sharif University of Technology, is also an imaging
Nahid is a new satellite and earlier this year Fazeli was
quoted as saying it is designed with folding solar panels for greater
maneuverability in space.
Iran was set to launch Fajr in May, but the
country’s state media announced that the project had been delayed because
further tests were required.
Jane’s Intelligence Review reported evidence
of launch pad burn marks, however, claiming that the launch had been attempted
According to Mashregh, Fazeli said that the Nahid satellite
will test new solar panel technologies.
Iran has been aggressively
accelerating its space and missile program for the past several years, raising
Western concerns over its military potential, particularly the implications for
the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles.
Last March, Jane’s Defense Weekly
reported that Iran appeared to be undertaking rapid construction of its Semnan
Space and Missile Center, the speed of the construction, which prevents extended
satellite analysis, suggesting the secretive nature of the project.
center, in the remote northern desert province of Semnan, has a launch pad area
reminiscent of the Tongchang pad in North Korea, indicating that Pyongyang
assisted Iran in building it, according to Jane’s.
A report last month in
Iran’s Fars News, which is linked to the IRGC, reported that IRGC commander
Maj.-Gen. Muhammad Ali Jafari had said a huge explosion at the Karaj
missile complex in November 2011 had been due to Iran's research into solid
state propulsion technologies for satellites, another suggestion that Iran’s
satellite program has a military basis.