Tehran, Jan 28 (EFE).- Iran “successfully” put three satellites into orbit simultaneously on Sunday for the first time, two days after several European countries criticized its space program due to its potential use for the development of a ballistic missile system.
The satellites, Mahda, weighing 32 kilos (70 pounds), as well as Keyhan 2 and Hatef 1, both weighing 10 kilos (22 pounds) each, were launched early in the morning aboard a Simorgh (Phoenix) rocket from the Imam Khomeini Space Launch Terminal, state agency IRNA reported.
The three satellites were “successfully” placed in a 450-kilometer (280 mile) orbit on the eve of the 45th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, which is celebrated on Feb. 11, IRNA said.
The mission of the Mahda satellite is to test the capability of the Simorgh rocket, while the Keyhan 2 nanosatellite will be focused on positioning and the Hatef 1 on communication.
This new satellite launch comes two days after France, the United Kingdom and Germany criticized the Iranian space program for using “technology essential for the development of a long-range ballistic missile system.”
These criticisms followed Iran’s launch of the Soraya satellite on Jan. 20, in an orbit at 750 kilometers over the Earth’s surface, the highest ever reached by the Persian country, which until now had placed them in orbits up to 500 kilometers.
Iran has a powerful space program, criticized by the United States and several European countries as they claim that it has military objectives and can use that technology to develop ballistic missiles.
Iran launched its first satellite into orbit in 2009.
In 2017, it inaugurated the Imam Khomeini National Space Center and launched the Simorgh satellite carrier rocket.
In April 2020, it managed to put its first military satellite into orbit, after multiple failures. EFE