President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran says the country will launch four locally-built “research” satellites into orbit over the next few years. He named the craft: Fajr (Dawn), Rasad (Observation), Zafar and Amir Kabir-1.
Iran’s progress is being watched carefully by its near-neighbours, notably Israel, which is concerned that in place of a satellite cargo Iran’s real ambitions could extend to a more threatening payload.
According to Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, the new satellites are significant and demonstrate Iran’s impressive and growing space capabilities “We are seeing a major breakthrough for the Iranians,” Inbar told The Jerusalem Post. “They are currently working on nine satellites. They are thorough and can demonstrate impressive results.”
Iran is also working on sending its own astronaut into space by 2021.