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TIMELINE: Iran launches first own satellite

(Reuters) - Iran said it launched its first domestically made satellite into orbit on Tuesday, boasting major progress in its space technology when tension with the West over its nuclear ambitions persists.

Here are some details of Iran’s space program since the launch of a first satellite in 2005:

October 27, 2005 - Iran launches its Sina-1 satellite from the Plesetsk launch pad in northern Russia. The satellite was launched from a Russian Cosmos 3M rocket as a joint project between Iran and Russia.

-- Sina-1’s launch sparked controversy in some Western media that suspected it could be used for spying. But technical experts say its camera probably lacked sufficient power to be effective for espionage.

February 4, 2008 - Iran causes international concern and launches a domestically made rocket as part of its satellite program, the Explorer 1. It said it needed two more similar tests before putting a domestically made satellite into orbit.

-- Iran says the research satellite, called Omid (Hope), would be launched by March 2009.

August 17, 2008 - Iran launches a dummy satellite on a domestically made Safir satellite carrier for the first time. U.S. officials said the attempted launch was a failure.

August 20, 2008 - Iran plans to send a manned rocket into space in the next 10 years. The long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into space can also be used for launching weapons. Iran says it has no such intention.

-- Reza Taghipour, head of Iran’s aerospace organization, is quoted as saying that it would cooperate with Islamic countries in building a satellite that television said would be called, Besharat, meaning ‘good news’. He also said Iran was working with Russia and other Asian states to launch another satellite.

September 7, 2008 - A joint research satellite of China, Iran and Thailand is launched on a Chinese rocket aimed at boosting cooperation on natural disasters such as earthquakes.

-- Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Soleimani says the satellite was equipped with cameras.

February 3, 2009 - Iran launches the Omid (Hope) satellite. The Omid is designed to gather information and test equipment and will circle 14 times around earth every 24 hours.

Sources: Reuters/BBC