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Iran Claims To Be Developing One-Metre Resolution Earth Observation Satellite

Morteza Barari, head of the Iran Space Agency. Photograph courtesy of the Fars News Agency.

The head of the Iran Space Agency, Morteza Barari, told Iranian media that Iran plans to develop and build a high-resolution Earth observation satellite capable of taking images of one-metre resolution.

“We are after putting into the orbit a sensing satellite with the precision power of one meter,” Barari told the Fars News Agency in an interview published on 30 October 2019.

“Development of infrastructures and building of launchers and combined systems are among the pivots underlined in our space plans,” Barari added.

Earlier in October 2019, Morteza Barari announced that Iran intends to make another attempt to launch three small satellites within the next three months. Iran’s most recent attempts at launching its own satellites have ended in failure.

According to Barari, “This year [the Iranian year which started on 21 March], three satellites will be ready in the next three months. Two launchers will be prepared in the next few months and we want to launch three cubesats too in addition to the launcher.”

“This year, we have three satellites and it was decided that two samples of Zafar satellite be ready and they (the scientists) are preparing the Pars 1 satellite and a remote sensing satellite with the precision of 15 meters,” Barari added.

The Zafar is a remote sensing satellite with a reported panchromatic resolution of 80 metres. The Pars-1 is also thought to be a remote sensing satellite, though its panchromatic resolution is unknown.

The other unnamed remote sensing satellite mentioned by Barari could be the Sharif satellite with a panchromatic resolution believed to be 12.5 to 15 metres. Sharif was initially supposed to be launched in 2012, and was built by the Sharif University of Technology.

Morteza Barari also made mention of the Saman-1 space tug that is supposed to propel satellites placed in low-Earth orbit (LEO) into higher orbits.

The one-metre resolution Earth observation satellite mentioned by Barari may refer to the Toloo satellite believed to be developed by Iran Electronics Industries. Toloo is to be a reconnaissance satellite with a signals intelligence (SIGINT) payload, and is designed to be launched by Iran’s Simorgh satellite launch vehicle (SLV).

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