Iran state TV airs launch of new satellite-carrying rocket

TEHRAN, IRAN (AP) — Iranian State TV on Monday aired the launch of the country’s newest satellite-carrying rocket, which it said was able to reach a height of 500 kilometres.

The footage of the solid-liquid-fuelled rocket showed the launch taking place during daytime in a desert environment. The report did not say when or where the launch happened.

The rocket, named Zuljanah for the horse of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), did not launch a satellite into orbit. The satellite carrier is 25.5 metres long and weighs 52 tonnes.

Iran said its satellite programme, like its nuclear activities, is aimed at scientific research and other civilian applications. The United States (US) and other Western countries have long been suspicious of the programme because the same technology can be used to develop long-range missiles.

The Defence Ministry’s Space Department which oversaw the launch spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said the rocket is capable of carrying either a single 220-kilogramme satellite or up to 10 smaller ones.

He said the test helped Iran achieve its “most powerful” rocket engine and that the rocket can be launched using a mobile launching pad. State TV said the three-stage rocket uses solid fuel in the first and second stages and fluid fuel in the third.

In the past, Iran has used various fluid-fuel satellite carrier rockets to put smaller devices into orbit. Last year, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said it used a Qased, or Messenger satellite carrier to put its Noor satellite into space.

Iran’s newest satellite-carrier rocket Zuljanah, before being launched at an undisclosed location, Iran. PHOTO: AP