Home Civilian based defense Iran failed to launch satellite earlier this month, tries again – report

Iran failed to launch satellite earlier this month, tries again – report

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Iran carried out a failed satellite launch earlier this month and appears to be preparing to conduct another, civilian analysts and US defense officials have found. confirmed on CNN Tuesday.

The reasons for the failure of the Simorgh rocket launch were not immediately clear. Tehran has not commented on the matter.

Israelis and other international defense officials have long maintained that Iran’s purported space program is in fact a cover for its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are largely based on the same technology.

In early June, Dave Schmerler and Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies noticed telltale signs of an imminent launch in satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. and Maxar Technologies of the Iranian spaceport in Semnan – in particular, a large number vehicles, fuel tanks and other tools.

“We never see this equipment except before space launches,” Lewis wrote in a series of tweets about it on Wednesday.

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About a week later, activity at the Imam Khomeini spaceport declined significantly, indicating that the launch had already been carried out. However, unlike cases of successful launches, Iran has not made any announcements about it and no new satellites have been reported orbiting Earth.

“We were pretty sure the launch failed,” Lewis said.

The two researchers then contacted CNN to confirm their intuition. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Uriah Orland told the news network on Tuesday that there had indeed been a failed launch.

“The US Space Command is aware of the failed Iranian rocket launch that occurred in early June 12,” Orland told CNN.

It was not immediately clear how or when the launch failed. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for additional information from The Times of Israel.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies which has been annotated by experts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies shows the preparation at the Imam Khomeini spaceport in the Iranian province of Semnan on June 6, 2021 before the experts believe to be the launch of a satellite carrier rocket. (2021 Maxar Technologies, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies via AP)

It was at least the fourth consecutive time that Iran had not put its Simorgh satellite launcher into orbit, with the rocket detonated on the launch pad or at a later stage of the launch.

According to Lewis, new satellite photographs of the Imam Khomeini spaceport from June 20 again show vehicles and equipment that are typically only seen before a launch, indicating that another is in the works.

“A support vehicle and the mobile work platform are back at the gantry and there is another load of fuel (and possibly oxidizer) on site. The Iranians will try again! he wrote.

This month’s failed and seemingly imminent launch came as the United States and Iran negotiate a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Former US President Donald Trump abrogated the deal in 2018, putting in place a crushing sanctions regime against Iran and Iranian officials. In return, a year later, Iran also abandoned the deal, gradually enriching more and more uranium and to higher purity levels than allowed by the deal and making progress in other areas. linked to the atom which were prohibited by the agreement.

This satellite image provided by Planet Labs Inc. which has been annotated by experts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies shows readiness at the Imam Khomeini spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province on June 20, 2021 before experts believe to be the launch of a rocket carrying satellites. (Planet Labs Inc., James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies via AP)

US President Joe Biden has repeatedly stated his intention to return to the JCPOA and lift sanctions put in place by his predecessor, provided Iran first complies with the deal.

In recent months, Iranian and Western diplomats have negotiated such reintegration into the nuclear deal in Vienna, with all sides reporting progress but no resolution so far.

Last week, Ebraham Raisi was chosen as the next Iranian president. Raisi, who is infamous for ordering mass executions of prisoners in the 1980s, is expected to take a tougher stance on Iran’s nuclear program, although the White House and many defense analysts believe the decision on how which Tehran proceeds in terms of JCPOA and its Military expansionism is ultimately done by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not the president.

Iran has also sought to increase pressure on the United States and the West by testing its satellite launchers, which could also serve as nuclear-weapon ballistic missiles.

Lewis, who writes a book on the Iranian space program, has long argued that while some satellite launchers could be used as intercontinental ballistic missiles, he doesn’t think that would be the case with the Simorgh, which by design wouldn’t be well suited to the task, compared to some of the models tested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran.

Last year, the IRGC successfully put a small spy satellite into orbit, making it one of the few armies in the world that can do so independently. However, defense officials dismissed the satellite as not of particular concern in terms of capabilities.

“It’s a webcam that rotates in space; unlikely to provide information, ”the head of US Space Command wrote in a tweet at the time of the launch.

Earlier this year, Iranian state television broadcast the launch of the country’s most recent satellite-carrying rocket – not the Simorgh – which it said could reach heights of 500 kilometers (310 miles).

The rocket, named Zuljanah for the horse of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, did not launch a satellite into orbit. The satellite carrier is 25.5 meters (84 feet) long and weighs 52 tons. Ahmad Hosseini, spokesperson for the Defense Ministry’s space department, which oversaw the launch, said the rocket is capable of carrying a single satellite of 220 kilograms (485 pounds) or up to 10 smaller ones.

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