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Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation Site Visit to Iran for SMMS Programme

Iranian and Chinese satellite engineers meet in Iran in April 2017. Photograph courtesy of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation.

An Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation (APSCO) delegation successfully conducted the Hosting Site Survey at the proposed Iranian site on April 8-13, 2017, as the follow up to one of the most important tasks in the Small Multi-Mission Satellite (SMMS) Project phase B.

This mission was conducted by experts from the China Academy of Science (CAS). During the site survey, the progress and current status of the SMMS project was presented by the APSCO delegation. The Iranian site environment, existing facilities, and infrastructure was thoroughly investigated by the Chinese experts. During the site survey mission, the technical information of the site was collected with the excellent cooperation of Iranian experts, and will be conveyed to the project lead of the SMMS project as one of the references for the Hosting Site consideration at the end of the design phase.

Furthermore, the APSCO delegation advised Iranian experts on the technical upgrade requirements of existing equipment and facilities to receive data from the three in-orbit Chinese satellites of the SMMS project once the data sharing policy of these satellites are issued.

The MOU on the Cooperation in SMMS project was jointly signed by China, Iran, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan and Thailand on April 22, 1998, in Bangkok, Thailand, marking the initiation of this program. Bangladesh joined the program in 1999. between May of 1998 to May of 2001, five project committee meetings were held for the discussion and confirmation of responsibility distribution and working plans for the SMMS project.

China, Thailand, and Iran are working on a joint SMMS devoted to civilian remote-sensing and communications experiments. The SMMS satellite will carry a low-resolution charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and an experimental telecommunications system. The SMMS will give Iran and Pakistan a semi-autonomous space-imaging capability. The 470-kg spacecraft is set for launch on a Chinese booster into a 650-km Sun-synchronous polar orbit at a yet-to-be determined date.

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