[FPSPACE] New York Times article on Persian space launch, another article
pjp961 at svol.net
Mon Aug 18 17:18:22 EDT 2008
Article by William J Broad, quotes fpspacer Charles Vick
August 18, 2008
Iran Reports Test of Craft Able to Carry a Satellite
By WILLIAM J. BROAD
an/index.html?inline=nyt-geo> Iran test-fired a new rocket capable of
carrying a satellite into orbit, the Iranian state news media reported
Sunday. Western experts said the launching represented a potentially
significant if much-delayed step in Iran's efforts to join the international
The report of the test flight comes amid growing Western nervousness about
Iran's nuclear program and concerns that it could one day use its missile
expertise to threaten enemies with annihilation by means of atomic warheads.
On Sunday, Iranian television broadcast images of the night rocket launching
and said the satellite had been fired into orbit. But officials later said
that only the rocket had been launched. The White House said Iran's rocket
announcement was "troubling," calling it part of a pattern of Iranian
activity to build a nuclear program and the means to potentially launch a
"The Iranian development and testing of rockets is troubling and raises
further questions about their intentions," a White House spokesman, Gordon
D. Johndroe, said Sunday.
Rocket scientists agree that the same technology that puts satellites into
orbit can deliver warheads.
An administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because
of security concerns, said that the best American information indicated that
the Iranian effort had failed, and that the rocket or the dummy satellite or
both had broken up.
Charles P. Vick, an expert on Iranian rockets at GlobalSecurity.org, a
research group in Alexandria, Va., called the weekend test flight "a
precursor to the satellite launch." He said the satellite's launching had
been repeatedly delayed and might occur in the next few weeks or months.
"This test launching is several months behind the June expectation," he
added in an interview, saying the Iranians had suffered many delays because
of design flaws and hardware failures.
Mr. Vick said the launching nonetheless in theory represented a significant
step because it appeared to be Iran's first firing of a rocket with more
than one stage. The rocket was identified by state news media as the Safir-e
Omid, or Ambassador of Hope, and was said to have fired two stages. Mr. Vick
said the first stage consisted of a Shahab, a standard rocket in Iran's
arsenal, topped by a liquid-fueled second stage and possibly a small
solid-fueled third stage.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
nejad/index.html?inline=nyt-per> was at Iran's space center and made the
countdown to the launching, state television reported. "The president
congratulated the Iranian nation on the great achievement," it said. The
rocket beamed flight data back to ground control, Reza Taghipoor, the
director of Iran's space agency, told state television.
Iran has long held the goal of developing a space program.
In 2005, it launched its first commercial satellite on a Russian rocket in a
project with Moscow, a main partner in transferring space technology to
The spacecraft was quite small by world standards - a microsatellite of a
few hundred pounds. It orbited Earth once every 99 minutes and reportedly
had a camera for peering down on large swaths of land.
Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural
disasters in the earthquake-prone nation and improve its telecommunications.
Iranian officials also point to the use of satellites by the United States
to monitor Afghanistan and Iraq and say they need similar abilities for
Iran hopes to launch four more satellites by 2010, the government has said.
Western experts consider that goal ambitious and probably quite hard to
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