Iranian officials announced on Sunday that their defense ministry successfully launched a two-stage Simorgh rocket equipped with a payload of three satellites. There have been five failed attempts to properly deploy this type of system in the past.
State media identified the cargo as consisting of research, global positioning, and communication satellites. Isa Zarepour, Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Minister, reported that the hardware was already sending receivable signals to technicians on the ground.
The Simorgh, or ‘Phoenix’ in Farsi, has caused some apprehension in Western intelligence agencies because of the possibility that it could have ‘dual use’ capability, and might be positioned conjointly to deliver nuclear munitions.
The United States has maintained that such actions by Tehran violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that limits Iran’s ballistic missile testing. Despite these sanctions, the Islamic Republic has stated that they would continue to develop their “defensive” aerospace programs.
On Jan. 20, the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, sent the research satellite Soraya in to a 466-mile orbit. This operation was the highest orbital altitude that the Iranian Space Agency has ever achieved.