Iran launches first communication satellite

August 18th, 2008 - 12:30 am ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Aug 17 (DPA) Iran Sunday launched its first communication satellite into space, Iranian state television reported. The report said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the countdown for the Omid (Hope) satellite, which was launched on the Safir (Envoy) rocket.

Ahmadinejad termed the launching a great technological achievement for the Iranian nation.

The same rocket was first tested last February under the name Kavoshgar (Explorer) 1 upon Ahmadinejad’s direct order from a space centre in order to prepare for the launch of the Omid satellite.

The ability to launch satellites into orbit may indicate progress in the Islamic republic’s missile technology, which is another point of concern for Western countries worried by Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iran’s main missile, Shahab-3, has a range of 2,000 km and is therefore capable of targeting any part of arch-rival Israel’s territory.

Iran says that its missile industry plans to focus its work on scientific rather than defence purposes.

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