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Two Iranian Remote-Sensing Satellites Ready for Launch

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Two remote-sensing satellites developed by the University of Science and Technology were handed over to the Iranian Space Agency on Sunday
Two Iranian Remote-Sensing Satellites Ready for Launch
Two Iranian Remote-Sensing Satellites Ready for Launch

The University of Science and Technology handed over two locally-developed satellites Zafar1 and Zafar2 to the Iranian Space Agency on Sunday. 
An official with the agency informed Financial Tribune of their technical capabilities on the condition of anonymity, as the dates for the launch and media briefing have not been scheduled yet. 
“Zafar1 has a spatial resolution of 25 meters while that of Zafar2 is 16 meters,” the source said, adding that Zafar1 will be first put into orbit. 
On Sunday morning, Iranian ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi took to Twitter to announce the handover. In his tweet, Jahromi for the first time mentioned that two versions of the satellite were made, but did not provide any further information.
In his social media post, the minister also hinted that Iran has upgraded its Simorgh satellite launch vehicle. In 2019, the same SLV was used more than once to put satellites into orbit, which failed due to technical glitches.
In a talk with ISNA on Saturday, ISA Chief Morteza Barari confirmed that Simorgh SLV will put Zafar1 into orbit. 
According to Barari, the satellite launch will be operated and monitored by three stations in Charmshahr (in Tehran Province), Mahdasht (in Alborz Province) and Qeshm Island (in the Strait of Hormuz).


Simorgh SLV will put Zafar1 into orbit. Also known as Safir-2, the SLV is an Iranian small-capacity orbital carrier rocket that was used more than once to put satellites into orbit in 2019. However, the missions failed due to technical glitches


The SLV, also called Safir-2, is an Iranian small-capacity orbital carrier rocket, which was originally scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2010. The project was unveiled by then-president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in February 2010.
Zafar1 is a 90-kilogram remote-sensing satellite equipped with color cameras and can be used for surveying oil reserves, mines, jungles and natural disasters. If the launch is successful, it will orbit the earth at an altitude of 530 kilometers.
Earlier on Saturday, Hossein Samimi, the head of Iran Space Research Center, told Mehr News Agency that Iran has produced solid-propellant rocket motors that will be used in future satellite launches. 
Samimi added that the technology used in the upper stage rocket motors is similar to the Star—a family of US solid-propellant rocket motors used by many space propulsion and launch vehicles. The Iranian motor has been named Arash.



Earlier Developments

On Thursday, Jahromi and his deputy Barari—who heads ISA—took to Twitter to write about the satellite.
Jahromi called on people to pitch a message to be transmitted by the satellite. Barari released technical details about Zafar.
The ISA chief told reporters in August 2019 that Iran will put three satellites into orbit before the current Iranian year ends in March 2020.
At the time, Barari said, “Work on three satellites—Nahid1, Zafar and Pars1—has been accelerated and they will be launched before the current Iranian year ends [March 19].” 
So far, only Zafar1 has been delivered for launch.
He also said experts at Amirkabir University of Technology are to develop a telecom satellite dubbed Payam2.
According to the ISA chief, three development plans for building Payam2 are being reviewed and the production process will take up to four years.
According to Barari, Iran’s first communication satellite Nahid1 is ready for launch and will soon be put into orbit.
“Nahid1 will fly 250 kilometers above the Earth and remain in orbit for two and a half months. We will test new technologies during the mission, namely a deployable/retractable solar panel system for satellites, an inter-satellite communication system and a three-axis control system for satellites,” he said.
The ISA chief noted that the retractable solar panel system will enable scientists to develop communication satellites that can remain in orbit for longer.
“Making satellites that can transmit images with a 1-meter resolution tops the ISA agenda. Such satellites will be produced domestically by 2025,” he said.
According to Barari, Pars1 is a remote-sensing satellite that will offer images with a 15-meter resolution respectively.



Previous Efforts

Iran had successfully launched a remote-sensing satellite, Navid, in 2012. The experimental Earth observation satellite was developed by Iran University of Science and Technology researchers.
The satellite, which took high-resolution images of Earth, could be used for observing natural phenomena.
It was placed into orbit by Iran-made Safir carrier rocket on Feb. 3, 2012. After flying 250 kilometers above the Earth for almost two months, Navid reentered the atmosphere on April 1, 2012.
Barari said, “Last year, we tried to put the satellite Payam into orbit, 500 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. However, due to some complications, including a sharp surge in temperature [during the launch], the mission did not succeed.”
He noted that another satellite, Dousti, was launched in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19) without success. However, he believes that every step Iran takes toward developing space technologies will provide local scientists with invaluable insight.
“After last year’s two launches, a committee was set up to determine the shortcoming of those projects. All those problems have been resolved,” he said.
Dousti (meaning friendship in Persian) was a locally-made micro-class 52-kg satellite that was put into orbit at an altitude of 250-310 km. It reportedly had a spatial resolution of 10 meters.
Payam (meaning message in Persian), a micro-class 100-kg non-military satellite, was to orbit about 500-600 km above the Earth's surface and perform imagery and telecom tasks.

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