More details are emerging of Iran’s shock successful satellite launch, a mission that caught western intelligence off-guard.
The launch was credited to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which is blacklisted by the United States, rather than the Iran Space Agency. The launch operation was carried out by the IRGC’s Aerospace Division from a launch station situated in the desert plain’s Shahroud region.
The hush-hush launch came after two previous attempts to launch satellites failed amidst speculation ranging from a cyber attack on Iran’s space program to lack of technical expertise in space technology.
Speaking on the occasion, IRGC Chief Commander Major General Hossein Salami said that the success translates into a “mutation” in expansion of the country’s intelligence reach and command, and that the orbiter could now come to the country’s assistance in “intelligence warfare.”
“The elite force (IGRC) fired the satellite — Nour (Light)-1 — aboard Qased (Carrier) satellite carrier during an operation that was staged in Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s sprawling central desert, on Wednesday,” the IGRC’s Sepah News reported.
The satellite was placed into the orbit 425 kilometers above Earth’s surface. The report described Nour-1 as Iran’s first multi-purpose satellite with application in the defense industry among other areas. An earlier report said the satellite was dedicated to military applications.
The report specified Qased as the country’s first three-stage satellite launcher to successfully pass all its tests. The agency said the country’s aerospace program was expected to gather pace following the launch.
Over the next several years, it said, the country was expected to deploy its military space activities towards taking care of its relevant telecommunication purposes, including promotion of reconnaissance and safe communication capabilities.
The launch coincided with anniversary of the IGRC’s establishment on April 22, 1979.
US President Donald Trump has not reacted to the satellite launch but has called for the US Navy to shoot at Iranian boats if they harassed the US Navy.