Iran General NewsIran satellite launch delayed

Iran satellite launch delayed

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AFP: The launch of a new Iranian satellite has been pushed back by months as it is still undergoing development.

TEHRAN (AFP) — The launch of a new Iranian satellite has been pushed back by months as it is still undergoing development.

Last month Telecommunications Minister Reza Taghipour said the Rasad 1 (Observation), Iran’s second domestically built satellite, would be launched in the last week of August.

But Taghipour said the satellite, to be used for imagery and weather forecasts, would now be launched in the second half of the current Iranian year to March 2011.

“The launch of Rasad 1 satellite will take place in the second half of this year,” Taghipour said, according to state television’s website.

The second half of the Iranian year begins on September 23.

“The satellite… is itself being developed, although some other stages (involved in the launch) are ready,” he added.

Taghipour said the launch’s timing would be decided “accurately once the pre-launch testing, which is a lengthy process, is done”.

Iran in February revealed details of three other new satellite prototypes — the Toloo (Dawn), Navid (Good News) and telecommunications satellite Mesbah-2 (Lantern).

Iran’s first satellite — the Omid (Hope) — was launched in February 2009, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Earlier this month, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran was working on a three-stage rocket to carry a satellite 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) into space.

He also announced that Iran had plans to put telecommunications satellites in the 35,000-kilometre (22,000 mile) orbit — where geostationary satellites are placed — within “five or six years”.

Ahmadinejad has also said Tehran plans to send a man into space by 2019. But his government is under tightening UN sanctions over its nuclear programme.

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