x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Iran to launch satellites

Iran will launch two satellites in the next few months, the defence minister Ahmad Vahidi said. Meanwhile and Indian rocket carrying a satellite has exploded soon after launch.

Iran will launch a reconnaisance satellite dubbed the "Fajr" in the next few months, the defence minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a report by the official IRNA news agency.

Mr Vahidi said the Islamic republic would also put into space about the same time another satellite, the Rasad 1 (Observation), whose launch was originally scheduled for August 2010.

Iran is "building different satellites and by end of the (Iranian) year (March 2011), the Fajr and Rasad satellites will be launched into space", the minister was quoted as saying.

The news agency reported that Fajr (Dawn) was a "reconnaissance satellite" that would operate on solar energy.

"These satellites are different from the previous models. They have better fuel systems and can stay in space for a longer time," Mr Vahidi said.

Mr Vahidi said he expected Rasad 1 to be delivered to the communication ministry and launched during the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution which falls on February 11, 2011.

In February 2009, Iran launched its first home-built satellite, the Omid (Hope).

Meanwhile, an Indian space rocket carrying a communications satellite has exploded after lifting off from southern India, live TV footage showed. The rocket exploded in a plume of smoke and fire moments after taking off from the Sriharikota launch site, 80 kilometres from the city of Chennai, state-owned Doordarshan TV showed. The United News of India (UNI) said the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) veered from its intended flight-path and disintegrated seconds after lift-off. The Christmas Day launch had originally been scheduled for December 20 but was postponed after engineers discovered a leak in one of the Russian-designed engines of the GSLV, the news agency added. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials who conducted the unsuccessful launch were not immediately available for comment. UNI, quoting unnamed ISRO officials, said a technical snag caused the rocket to malfunction.