Sunday, February 01, 2009

MicroSpace News: First Iranian Satellite soon?

Reza Taqipour, head of Iran's space agency, has announced the Omid (Hope) satellite may be launched as early as March. The satellite is described as a "communications satellite." Presumably, what he's referring to, given the limited payload of Iran's Safir launch vehicles, is a LEO UHF or VHF comsat, likely a microsatellite.

COMMENT: The Iranian program makes some other nations uneasy, given that a small satellite launcher and an IRBM are very close cousins. Still, every nation has the right to develop space vehicles (Iran is not a signatory to the leaky MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime)). Given Iran's resources and determination to be an influential regional power, it would not be surprising if this launch is the first step toward small imaging satellites as well as communications and maybe ELINT birds. Unfortunately, it would also not be surprising if, ten years from now, Iraq has several IRBMs with nuclear warheads, unless the rest of the world devises a much more effective approach to halting Iran's nuclear program.

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