(photo credit: AP)
Iran has built a new missile launch pad that could accommodate the firing of the Islamic Republic’s next-generation satellite launch vehicle (SLV) called Simorgh, which Israel fears is being developed to serve as an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach all of Europe.
Satellite footage taken by Jane’s with the DigitalGlobe and GeoEye satellites revealed that Iran has constructed a new launch site near the current Semnan space center. The imagery shows a new site four kilometers from Semnan with a 13-meter wide gantry tower approximately 20 meters tall. The site, Jane’s said, appeared to be midway toward completion.
According to an analysis of the imagery conducted by Jane’s, a London-based defense publication, the construction of the new facility and the development of the Simorgh missile likely demonstrated collaboration between Iran and North Korea. The tower, Jane’s said, resembled a similar tower at North Korea’s launch pad at Tongchang.
Iran unveiled the Simorgh missile in early February leading Israeli defense officials to warn that it could one day become an ICBM with a range of several thousand km., putting almost all of Europe within its reach.
A model of the Simorgh was displayed at a space show in Teheran, along
with the three new Iranian-built satellites – Mesbah-2, Tolo and
Iranian officials said the 87-ton Simorgh could carry a satellite
weighing 100 km. and put it into orbit in space. Hailing the new
technology, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at the time that
the Simorgh would carry Mesbah-2 into space, but gave no time-frame.