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Iran says countdown starts for launching new satellite

Iran’s minister of information and communication technology says the countdown has started for launching the country’s Zafar satellite, which will orbit the earth at an altitude of over 500 km.

Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi took to Twitter on Sunday, saying, “Countdown starts for the launch of Zafar satellite in a few hours

The minister had tweeted on February 3 that Iran would launch its Zafar observation satellite by the end of the same week (February 7).

“We are not afraid of failure and do not lose hope… Zafar satellite will be launched by the end of this [Iranian] week to reach 530-km orbit,” he said in his tweet.

Head of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) Morteza Barari announced earlier the same day that the Zafar satellite was designed and manufactured by the scientists and elite students of Iran University of Science and Technology.

The official added, “The Zafar satellite is set to be launched by a Simorgh carrier to be put in the 530-kilometer orbit, after which we will be able to provide various services to the people and society.”

In January 2019, Iran launched its Payam (Message) satellite into space with an aim to collect data on environmental change; however, technical problems that occurred during the final stage of the launch prevented the spacecraft from reaching orbit.

Iran’s indigenous satellite launch capabilities first made headlines when the first locally-built satellite, Omid (Hope), was launched in 2009.

The country also sent its first bio-capsule containing living creatures into space in February 2010, using a Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier.

In February 2015, the Islamic Republic placed its domestically-made Fajr (Dawn) satellite into orbit, which is capable of taking and transmitting high-quality photos to stations on Earth.

Iran considers its space program a matter of national pride, and has said its space vehicle launches are for scientific purposes.