Iran’s Defense Ministry has unveiled a new domestically-designed and manufactured satellite launch vehicle capable of putting satellites into an orbit of 500km above the ground.
Ahmad Hosseini, a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Space Department, said on Monday that the new satellite launch vehicle is based on the most powerful solid fuel engine technology attained by the country’s specialists for the first time.
“For the first time in the field of space science, the first test launch of Zuljanah satellite launch vehicle has been carried out after achieving the most powerful solid fuel engine technology with the goal of conducting suborbital test,” he added.
The three-phase satellite launch vehicle, which is comparable with the most state-of-the-art ones in the world in technical aspects, enjoys two solid thrust phases and one liquid thrust phase, he added.
The official noted that it is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 220kg at an orbit of 500km above the ground.
Hosseini said access to the country’s most powerful solid fuel engine with over 750 tonne thrust was among important achievements of the space test.
The satellite launch vehicle would be ready to put operational satellites into orbit after the completion of research tests, he noted, adding that reducing costs and increasing the speed of achieving objectives are among its main features.
Iran has used various fluid-fuel satellite launch vehicles to put satellites into orbit.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in April last year successfully launched and placed the country’s first military satellite into the orbit.
The elite force fired the satellite — dubbed Nour (Light)-1 — aboard Qased (Carrier) satellite launch vehicle during an operation that was staged in Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s sprawling central desert.
The satellite was placed into the orbit 425 kilometers above Earth’s surface.
It came after Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said in February last year that Iran’s satellite launch vehicles have nothing to do with its military activities and lie completely outside the country’s defensive practices.
“The satellite launch vehicles have nothing to do with the subject of missiles, and constitute a completely non-defensive and non-military issue,” Hatami said.