Friday, January 26, 2007

A New Space Power - Iran

Aviation Week reports that Iran plans to join the ranks of space powers with a satellite launch. Iran has built a launcher based on one of its theater ballistic missile designs, and Alaoddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in Iran's parliament, says it will launch "soon." The size of the satellite was not given. In recent years, Brazil and North Korea have attempted satellite launches with indigenous vehicles, but neither succeeded.
COMMENT: Iran's program has naturally been viewed with some alarm, since the nation seems bent on developing nuclear weapons, and the satellite launcher could test technology for a longer-range missile, even an ICBM. Iran likely has several aims. The program could simultaneously raise the nation's international prestige, improve its missile technology, and provide a foundation for an independent reconnaissance satellite system, such as Israel has developed.

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