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Iran aims to build and launch “world-class” satellites by 2025

An artist's conception of a Zohreh communications satellite that Russia was to build for Iran in 2005. Image courtesy of Gunter's Space Page,
An artist’s conception of a Zohreh communications satellite that Russia was to build for Iran in 2005. Image courtesy of Gunter’s Space Page,

The Deputy Director of the Iranian Space Agency, Mohammad Homayoun Sadr, told Iranian journalists that Iran plans to build and launch its own high quality and indigenously built remote-sensing and telecommunications satellites by 2025.

“A 10-year plan has been put on the agenda for the construction of two remote sensing and telecommunications satellites,” said Sadr. “The remote sensing device aims to localize a satellite capable of producing professional high precision images, while the telecommunication satellite seeks to be a world-class satellite, an objective which will be hopefully achieved by the year 2025.”

It is well-known that Iran has long aimed to have its own communications satellites in geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometres altitude Ever since the 1970’s, before the 1979 Iranian revolution, when the Shah was in power and before the 1979 Tehran has intended to build its Zohreh (Farsi for Venus) geostationary communications satellites. To this day the Zohreh satellites have not been built, though in 2005 Iran did sign a US$132 million contract with the Russian Aerospace Agency and affiliate AviaExport. That contract was canceled not long after it was signed, not least because the Iranian parliament – the Majlis – has preferred a Western-built communications satellite.

Mohammad Homayoun Sadr’s announcement suggests that, for the foreseeable future at least, Iran intends to build its own Zohreh satellite by 2025.

Iran also hopes to build and launch a high-resolution remote-sensing satellite in the same timeframe, though it is thought to be in the market for foreign-made Earth observation satellites, particularly from Russia.

In the meantime. Sadr said, “a remote sensing satellite will be launched into space in the current year while one or two more satellites will be launched in the coming year (March 21 2017) which will help us to maintain and improve the achieved status by keeping a satellite in the orbit for more than a few months.”

After four decades and several starts and cancellations, the saga of the Zohreh communications satellite continues.



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