Monday, April 10, 2006

Iran plans second satellite launch

Iran hopes to put a second satellite into orbit in two years, a senior telecommunications official has said. READ MORE

Ebrahim Mahmoudzadeh, director of Sa Iran, a telecommunications firm affiliated to the defence ministry, told the official IRNA news agency on Monday that plans have been set into motion for a second satellite.

"We reached an agreement with Iran's Aerospace Organisation to produce Iran's second satellite called Pars [Sina-2]," Mahmoudzadeh said.

"The contract will be signed next month and it will probably be launched after two years."

Iran launched its Sina-1 satellite from a Russian rocket in October and said it would help Iranian scientists better understand natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.

Sa Iran declined to give a description of the Pars satellite and it was unclear what it was designed for.

Western suspicion

Sina-1's launch sparked controversy in some Western media which suspected that it could be used for spying. But technical experts said its camera probably lacked sufficient resolution to be effective for espionage.

Most international interest in Iran's satellite programme focuses on the Mesbah (lantern) satellite, which Iran intends to launch on a domestically made rocket.

Military analysts are closely watching Iran's domestic launch plans as satellite-launch technology is usually linked to developments in ballistic weapons.