Friday, February 8, 2019

Iran Fails to Launch a Satellite into Space

These satellite images show a circular launchpad for the Safir rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran. The image on the right, taken on Feb. 6, shows a burn scar. The image on the left, from Jan. 21, does not. Credit: Planet Labs Inc.

Iran has failed in its second attempt in recent weeks to launch a satellite into space, according to images released by two companies specializing in space imaging.

On Thursday morning, several images released to US media by DigitalGlobe and Planet, which showed blackened scorch marks consistent with a launch or failed launch of a craft, were seen on a launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province.

The pictures are said to have been taken by the companies on Wednesday.

Iran said that it would launch its Doosti, or “Friendship,” satellite into space to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Iranian revolution, which took place in 1979.

Iranian state media and authorities have remained mum on the reports, suggesting that the launch was indeed a failure.

In January, the Islamic Republic failed to put into orbit another satellite – Payam, or “Message” – after it was unable to reach the required velocity. At the time, several leaders in Iran openly confirmed and discussed the attempted launch.

Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari said the rocket carrying the satellite “failed to reach the required speed in the third stage, even though it succeeded in the first two stages of the launch.”

In the last few years, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit – and in 2013, launched a monkey into space.

Both Israel and the US have expressed their concerns about the attempted satellite launchings, with Washington alleging that such actions defy a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently advised Iran “to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles, in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation.”


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