Iran begins project for manned space flight by 2021

February 12th, 2009 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Feb 12 (Xinhua) Iran has kicked off a 12-year project to send an astronaut into space, just days after putting its first home-built satellite into orbit, Press TV reported Thursday.
“The programme’s preliminary needs, assessments and feasibility studies have been carried out,” said Reza Taqipour, the head of the Iranian Aerospace Organization.

The organisation had drawn up a comprehensive plan for the project and various academic and research institutions must play to carry out a successful space mission by 2021, he said.

“China and India managed to send an astronaut to space in a 15 year program. We see ourselves taking the same path, but we hope to reach that goal in a shorter period,” he added.

On Feb 3, Iran’s Omid (Hope) lightweight telecommunications satellite was sent into space by the Iranian-produced satellite carrier Safir II.

Equipped with two frequency bands and eight antennae, Omid would transmit information to and from earth while orbiting the planet 15 times a day.

After orbiting for one to three months, Omid would return to earth with data that would help Iranian experts send an operational satellite into space.

In February 2007, Iran joined the international space-faring community when it successfully tested a rocket that went into space as part of its planned drive to launch five satellites into orbit by 2010.

Iran has been pursuing a space program for the past few years. In October 2005, Iran’s first satellite (the Russian-made Sina-I) was put into orbit by a Russian rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

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