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Iran Celebrates New Space Breakthroughs with Suraya and Mahda Satellites

Monday 29 January 2024
Iran Celebrates New Space Breakthroughs with Suraya and Mahda Satellites

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Alwaght- On the eve of the 45th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Iran is celebrating the event with displaying its space science breakthroughs. In recent days, Iran’s two successful satellite launches have captivated the global attention to the country’s space power and technology. 

On January 20, Suraya, a space research satellite developed by Iran’s Space Research Center (ISRC), was placed into orbit with Qaem-100 satellite carrier, which in turn was developed by scientists of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force. The satellite was placed in an altitude of 750 kilometers, setting a new record for Iranian satellite launches. 

With the successful launch of this research satellite, many of the subsystems developed by the ISRC will be put to orbital test conditions to pave the way for faster development of Iran’s native space industry. In addition, this launch is deemed an important step towards increasing the capability to place satellites into higher orbits. Hassan Salarieh, the head of the Iranian Space Organization (ISO), said that Suraya is a research satellite whose most important mission is to verify the performance of the Qaem-100 satellite carrier. 

Suraya launch serves some goals, including testing the satellite performance, reliability of satellite subsystems, and quality of communication of the satellite with the land control stations. Technologies such as telecommunication link, positioning sensors, power distribution and determination subsystems, hardware equipment, and software structures for managing different modes and solar panels to optimally provide satellite power are used in this satellite. 

According to Salarieh, other missions of the satellite include testing the performance of space mechanism and release of solar arrays in the orbit and calculation of their speed and repetition of the process using domestically-developed space equipment, testing the satellite performance in the orbit at the moment of separation from the carrier using domestically-developed sensors, and testing performance of the communication equipment in providing data about status of the satellite and receiving commands from the land stations. 

Mohammad Naveed Qureshi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Aerospace Association and a professor at ISRC, commented on the capabilities of the Suraya satellite, saying: “The Suraya satellite is heavier than previous satellites, and the heavier its weight and dimensions, the broader its capabilities and services to the country... There are 10 countries in the world that can go through the entire process of designing, building, and launching a satellite, and Iran is one of these countries. Also, this orbit [altitude] increases the lifespan of the satellite, which is very important.” 

A week after the launch of the Suraya, the ISO announced on Sunday that Simorgh satellite carrier successfully injected into space a new satellite, Mahda, and two other small satellites into 450-km orbit. This is the first time Iran has launched three domestic satellites simultaneously using a single carrier. 

Mahda is a lightweight 32-kg satellite developed by the ISRC meant to test the satellite subsystems. Its main mission is to verify the performance of Simorgh satellite carrier for delivery of multiple payloads in lower orbit and also evaluation of some new designs and reliability of native space technologies. It is noteworthy that Simorgh is a two-stage liquid-fuel carrier that in its seventh launch manged to deliver multiple satellites, opening a new gate to Iran’s space launches.

The first Iranian satellite, Khayam, was launched in August 2022 and successfully placed in the orbit. Launching satellites into space is a part of an Iranian ‘space vision document’, which was approved by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in 2013. The subject of this document is the development of science, technology, and knowledge-based enterprises of the country’s aerospace sector, which includes all institutions and agents that are somehow involved in aerospace exploration and use for such areas as media, telecommunication, imaging, positioning, and cargo carrying into the space. 

West, no surprise, opposes Iranian scientific developments 

Iran has been working on its aerospace capacities for years and has always made it clear it uses space activities for peaceful purposes and in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution. But Western governments claim that the launch systems of these carriers sport technologies that can also be used for launching nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. 

The European troika, namely Germany, France, and Britain, as ever issued a condemnation statement in reaction to Suraya launch, saying: “We condemn this launch because this launch vehicle uses the technology needed to develop a long-range ballistic missile system... Iran continues to develop its missile program despite repeated international calls to stop it and after years of ignoring UN restrictions.” 

In its previous statements, the European troika usually claimed that Iran’s satellite launches violated the UNSC 2231 resolution, but with end of resolution-imposed Iranian arms embargo in October last year, the Western reference to the resolution has lost its credibility. 

European claims come as Iran after July 2015 nuclear deal fulfilled all of its obligations mentioned in the agreement, but the three European countries evaded their commitments in line with the US policies and under various excuses. 

The EU and the US operate thousands of satellites in orbit for daily imaging from any part of the world and use these images to advance their policies and major plans. 

The US even went beyond the usual and in 2019 formed its space forces, officially dubbed United States Space Forces (USSF), as a sixth force of the country’s armed forces. The Westerns know better that the future competition and conflict will be in the space and the country with largest space capabilities will beat the rivals. That is why they do not want Iran into the space club, which can upset the space balance. 

The West insinuates that Iranian satellites are to be used for military purposes, but the fact is that in today’s world, all technologies are bound to national security and satellites help improve military capabilities. 

Over the past decade, Israel and the US have gone to great lengths to block Iran from developing technology for building advanced rockets, drones, and satellites, but they met their failure and Iran is a new member to the small club of nations capable of placing satellite into orbit. 

Currently, only the US, China, Russia, and France have long-range ballistic rockets with solid fuel, and Iran’s test of Qaem-100 makes it the fifth member to club of countries using the newest and most powerful space facilities. 

Western sanctions a failure story 

Iran’s space advances are made at a time when Westerners imposed cruel sanctions on Iran in the past few decades to derail this country’s development, but display of space and missile achievements showed that Tehran turned these pressures and threats into opportunities. 

Experience tells us that no country easily provides its new and advanced technologies to others. This means that Iran made its way to a higher position in the field of rockets and space technology by relying on its domestic potentials and its experts and scientists. Without exaggeration, we can suggest that Iran is the only country producing and launching its own satellites without assistance from the East or the West.

During coronavirus outbreak, the West even denied Iran vaccines and special medicines, so, they will definitely not provide Tehran with their missile and satellite capabilities, not even for civil uses. The Islamic Republic has come to belief that setting hopes on others cannot help make developments and it is reliance on domestic capacities that pushes the nation forward. 

Placing an advanced Iranian satellite into orbit demonstrated that Western sanctions have failed to restrict Iran’s quest for scientific and technological breakthroughs, and actually the greater the pressures, the more remarkable Iranian triumphs. And the country is taking a long step to even broader future breakthroughs with the scientific measures underway. 

 

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Iran Satellite Space Suraya Satellite Satellite Carrier West

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