TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has successfully launched a second domestically built satellite into orbit, Iran’s Arabic language al-Alam television reported on Wednesday.
The United States and its allies fear Iran is seeking to build nuclear bombs and are concerned that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch warheads.
“Iran launched a domestically built rocket and the Rasad 1 (satellite) has been put into orbit,” al-Alam reported.
In February 2009, Iran launched its first domestically-built satellite, the OMID (Hope) research and telecoms satellite, in what it described as a big step coinciding with the 30th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic revolution.
Iran, which regards its space program as a matter of national pride, says its nuclear program is solely to generate electricity.
The Rasad 1 (Observation) satellite will be used for transmitting images and weather forecasts, TV reported.
“The satellite was launched by a Safir rocket. It was put into orbit 260 km (163 miles) above the Earth,” al-Alam reported.
Iran gave no further description of the satellite’s orbit. Western experts say Iran rarely gives enough detail for them to determine the extent of its technological advances, while much Iranian technology consists of modifications of equipment supplied by China, North Korea and others.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Peter Graff