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Iran and Russia to jointly build a remote sensing satellite for Tehran

Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Mahmoud Vaezi. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.
Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Mahmoud Vaezi. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.

Iranian press reports claim that Iranian industry and as yet unnamed Russian satellite manufacturers are to jointly build a National Remote Sensing Satellite for Iran.

Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology, recently completed an official visit to Moscow where he met with several Russian government officials and industry executives on space and cyberspace issues.

Upon returning to Tehran, Vaezi said of the remote sensing satellite deal that, the project is very critical, we predict building of the satellite to last two years.”

Iranian officials have said for several months now that a telecommunications and a remote sensing satellite are Tehran’s top satellite priorities for the next several years. It is understood that work on the telecommunications satellite is already underway. If Vaezi’s claim that a deal has been struck between Tehran and Moscow on a remote sensing satellite is true, then it should expected that work on Iran’s National Remote Sensing Satellite should begin imminently.

Rumours that Iran and Russia have been discussing potential cooperation on building remote sensing satellites for at least a year. At one point it was believed that Russian Space Monitoring Systems, Information & Control and Electromechanical Complexes (VNIIEM) company, headquartered in Moscow, was to sign a deal with Iran for the construction of a Kanopus-V remote sensing satellite. This deal was expected to have been completed in April 2016, but nothing has been heard of it since it was first reported.

Earlier this week it was reported that Russian satellite manufacturer RSC Energia had signed a deal with the Egyptian government for the manufacture of the Egyptsat-A high-resolution remote sensing satellite, to replace the Russian-built Egyptsat-2 that was lost in orbit in April 2015 after only a year since being launched.

The veracity of Iranian and Russian claims of deals to build satellites of any kind are to be treated with some skepticism since previous press statements and corporate announcements have not amounted to much of anything.

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