Iran Commences Construction of Most Advanced-Ever Satellites
A fledgling space power with some of the best-developed space-based capabilities in the Muslim World, Iran’s space program has successfully launched over a dozen civilian and military satellites, created cosmodromes and built a range of homegrown space rockets using knowhow gained in the military sphere.
Iran has formally announced the start of design and construction work on two of its latest generation earth-imaging satellites.
“We had previously made promises regarding the construction of high-precision observation satellites, and today I proudly announce that the Iranian Space Agency has taken a significant step in designing and building domestic high-precision observation satellites. In this regard, the design and construction of two important projects, named Pars 2 and Pars 3, have officially commenced,” Iranian Space Agency chief Hossein Salariyeh told a media event Thursday.
The Pars 2 “is essentially a project to build an observation satellite with 4-meter imaging precision. The process of design and construction has begun for this satellite,” Salariyeh explained. As for the Pars 3, its development will provide Iran with its “most modern and highly accurate” imaging capabilities ever, with “an imaging precision of approximately 2 meters.”
The Pars series (lit. ‘Persia’ or ‘Iran’ in Persian) is one of Iran’s most ambitious satellite projects to date, with the remote-sensing spacecraft to be fitted with high-resolution earth imaging capabilities which can be used in agriculture, natural resource management, environmental and border monitoring, water sciences and mining.
Iran has one of the most advanced home-grown space programs in the Middle East, and in 2009 became the first Muslim nation to independently launch a satellite into orbit. The Iranian Space Agency has also engaged in deep cooperation with Russia and China, engaging in cooperative joint research programs, and piggybacking spacecraft on Soyuz rockets from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Last year, a Russian rocket helped launch the Khayyam, a 600 kg remote sensing satellite which became fully operational and started its remote sensing activities last month.
Speaking at Thursday’s event, Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi hailed the progress reached in Iran’s space endeavors, and said the country, whose peaceful space ambitions were born after the victory of the 1979 Revolution, is already reaping economic benefits from its space program.
Home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, Iran has gifted the world with many of its earliest space scholars, including mathematicians and astronomers Omar Khayyam, Al-Khwarizmi, and Ibn al-Haytham. After the Muslim conquest of Persia during the 7th century, Ancient Persian astronomy became intermeshed with that of the wider medieval Islamic World, with Persian scholars contributing heavily to the creation of advanced mathematical formulas to calculate the movement of the Sun and planets in our solar system and the positions of various heavenly bodies. Persian contributions to ancient Islamic astronomical sciences helped spark the broader flourishing of the sciences in the Islamic World from the 8th through 13th centuries.
Modern Iran’s space-based efforts have been subject to derision by some US officials, with now former United States Space Command chief John Raymond once ridiculing the Islamic Republic’s Noor (‘Light’) satellite as a “tumbling webcam in space” unlikely to provide any useful intel. Several months later, the Noor, operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Aerospace Command, sent back detailed snapshots of Al-Udeid Airbase, largest US military facility in the Persian Gulf region.
Iran repeated the feat in 2022, with the Noor-2 sending back a panoramic image centered on the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.
26 June 2022, 16:54 GMT