Iran hails successful launch of satellite rocket
AFP – February 3, 2010
Iran hailed the successful launch of a home-produced satellite rocket on Wednesday amid Western concerns it is using its nuclear and space industries to develop atomic and ballistic weapons.
The Kavoshgar 3 (Explorer) rocket was carrying an "experimental capsule", state-owned Al-Alam television reported.
State television's website said it was carrying "live animals" – a rat, turtles and worms.
"The capsule has the ability to send back empirical data," the website said.
State television showed footage of the rocket being fired from a desert launchpad leaving behind a thick plume of smoke.
A few minutes later the grainy images showed the capsule detaching from the rocket and spinning in orbit.
State television also carried pictures of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiling another home-built satellite rocket dubbed the Simorgh.
The milk-bottle shaped rocket, emblazoned in blue with the words "Satellite Carrier Simorgh," is equipped to carry a 100-kilogramme (220-pound) satellite 500 kilometres (310 miles) into orbit, the television report said.
The events are part of celebrations marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamic revolution.
Iran's first home-built satellite, the Omid (Hope), was launched in February last year to coincide with the 30th anniversary.
The launch sent alarm bells ringing in the international community, which voiced concern over Iran's development of technology that could be used for military purposes.
The West suspects Iran of secretly trying to build an atomic bomb and fears the technology used to launch space rockets could be diverted into developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Tehran denies having military goals for its space programme or its nuclear drive.
Last updated 06/02/2010