Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has successfully launched and placed the country’s first military satellite into the orbit.
The elite force fired the satellite — dubbed Nour (Light)-1 — aboard Qased (Carrier) satellite carrier during an operation that was staged in Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s sprawling central desert, on Wednesday, the Corps’ Sepah News reported.
The satellite was placed into the orbit 425 kilometers above Earth’s surface.
The Tasnim News Agency, meanwhile, carried a report outlining some details of the launch and the country’s space activities.
The report described Nour-1 as Iran’s first multi-purpose satellite with application in the defense industry among other areas.
The launch operation, it noted, was carried out by the IRGC’s Aerospace Division from a launch station situated in the desert plain’s Shahroud region.
The report specified Qased as the country’s first three-stage satellite launcher to successfully pass all its tests.
The agency said the country’s aerospace program was expected to gather pace following the launch.
Over the next several years, it said, the country was expected to deploy its military space activities towards taking care of its relevant telecommunication purposes, including promotion of reconnaissance and safe communication capabilities.
‘IRGC now a space force’
Speaking on the launch, IRGC Chief Commander Major General Hossein Salami said, “Today, we can observe the world from space,” congratulating Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people on the Islamic establishment’s achievement.
The launch, he said, served as an acknowledgment of the “empowerment approach” that has been advised by the Leader.
General Salami noted that the development showed that the Islamic Republic was capable of securing “remarkable” achievements that warranted international acclaim in whatever area that the country would choose to explore.
“The satellite’s successful launch enhanced new aspects of the Islamic Republic’s defensive might. By God’s grace, the Corps turned into a space force today,” the commander said.
General Salami further characterized the achievement as a strategic gain that expanded “the realm of our capabilities.” Setting foot in the space was a “necessity” for a powerful defense force like the IRGC, he added.
The success translates into a “mutation” in expansion of the country’s intelligence reach and command, General Salami said, noting that the orbiter could now come to the country’s assistance in “intelligence warfare.”
Salami hailed that all the components of both the satellite and the carrier had been produced indigenously and despite the US’s sanctions.
The launch conveys the message that not only have the sanctions failed to impede Iran’s progress, but have also “turned on the engine propelling the novel technologies that turn us into a great power in the region and on the international stage in the foreseeable future,” the commander said.
Leader congratulates IRGC on founding anniversary
The announcement was made on the day when the elite military force is marking the anniversary of its establishment on April 22, 1979 upon an order by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.
Marking the occasion, Ayatollah Khamenei expressed his gratitude towards the IRGC for its performance.
IRGC General Mohammad Shirazi, the head of the Leader’s Military Office, relayed the congratulatory message of the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Armed Forces to General Salami, the IRGC’s chief commander.
“Convey my regards to the IRGC personnel and their respectable families on the occasion of its founding anniversary,” the message noted. “I extend gratitude to them for their good performance and efforts. My prayers are with them.”