Iran to showcase new rockets, satellites: report

January 30, 2011

Iran said on Sunday it will showcase what it called a new range of rockets and satellites during annual celebrations marking the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Safir 1-B and Kavoshgar 4 rockets and Rasad and Fajr satellites would be unveiled during the 10-day celebrations that start on Tuesday, according to state television website.

Iran will mark on February 11 the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the US-backed shah. Every year Tehran uses the occasion to tout its scientific and technological achievments.

The Safir (Ambassador) 1-B can carry a satellite weighing 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds) into an elliptical orbit of 300 to 450 kilometres (185 to 280 miles), the website said.

Iran sent into space in February 2009 the Safir 2 rocket carrying its first home-built satellite, called Omid (Hope).

The state television report said the other Kavoshgar (Explorer) 4 rocket has a range of 120 kilometres.

In February 2010, Iran launched a capsule carrying live turtles, rats and worms aboard a Kavoshgar 3 rocket in what was its first experiment to send living creatures in space.

In December, Vahidi said Iran would launch a Fajr (Dawn) reconnaissance satellite in the next few months, along with a Rasad (Observation) 1 that was initially to have been launched in August 2010.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meanwhile on Sunday opened a new space research and training centre, media reports said.

Iran's missile and programmes have sparked concern abroad that such advanced technologies, combined with the nuclear know-how that the nation is acquiring, may enable Tehran to produce an atomic weapon.

Iran denies its nuclear programme has military aims.

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