The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran will soon launch a satellite into the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO), a circular orbit more than 35,000 kilometers above the planet’s equator. Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday that the satellite would be carried on a missile which had been developed by the senior IRGC commander, Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam, before his martyrdom a year ago. The Iranian general added that numerous young scientists have joined the IRGC Self-Sufficiency Organization since Tehrani Moqaddam’s martyrdom to push ahead with his projects.
Jafari stated that Iran is one of the few states capable of launching satellites into GEO, adding: “With this missile and on this level, I don’t think that except for two or three countries and Iran, any other country would be capable of sending satellites into GEO.”He emphasized that scientific progress in Iran will continue in all sectors. “Western governments and the United States are likely to feel threatened by Iran’s scientific progress. That’s natural, but we will do our job.” Iran launched its first indigenous satellite, Omid (Hope), in 2009. The country also sent its first biocapsule of living creatures into space in February 2010, using the indigenous Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier. Moreover, in June 2011, Iran put the 15.3-kilogram Rasad (Observation) orbiter in space. Rasad's mission was to take images of the Earth and transmit them along with telemetry information to the ground stations. Iran also launched Navid-e Elm-o Sanat (Harbinger of Science and Industry), another indigenous satellite, into orbit on February 3, 2012. The country is one of the 24 founding members of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which was set up in 1959. Tehran also plans to launch the country's first manned mission to space by 2019. KA/SS/AZ