Iran today launched its first space research rocket. The rocket is codenamed “Kavoushgar 1” (Explorer 1). The launch was broadcast live on IRIB, Iran’s state-run TV network. ISNA reported that the rocket was launched from a desert location near Semnan.
Iran’s first space center was also inaugurated during a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The space center contains the launch pad for space rockets.
The centerpiece of the space center will be a domestically-developed research satellite, named “Omid” (Hope). Omid will be launched from the space center, making Iran only the 11th country with technology to launch a satellite into space. The launch date for Omid Satellite has not been disclosed, although media reports indicated the satellite would be launched in the coming months. The test firing of Kavoushgar 1 today was an essential step into launching the satellite aboard a similar rocket. Omid will be set at a low orbit.
The new space center will also house an underground control station with tracking, control and communication equipment required to launch space rockets and satellites.
In October 2005, a Russian rocket launched Iran's first satellite, Sina-1, which carried telecommunications equipment.
Today’s launch shows Iran’s rapid advancement in developing rocket technology and long-range ballistic missiles.
The White House called the launch “unfortunate.” The White House spokeswoman said Iran will “further isolate itself” within the international community.
The launch of space rocket comes on the eve of 29th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran.