Iran Tests Zoljanah Satellite Launcher for Second Time
i24 News – Iran’s Defense Ministry said Sunday it carried out a second test launch of a satellite carrier ahead of the expected restart of nuclear talks.
“The second launch of the Zoljanah satellite carrier has taken place in order to achieve the predetermined research objectives,” said Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for the ministry’s space division, cited by state news agency IRNA.
In February last year, the ministry said it test-launched a new satellite carrier, the Zoljanah, but without providing details on the result. The carrier “has two stages of solid propulsion and a single liquid one,” Hosseini said at the time, adding that the rocket was for “research purposes.”
Hosseini said the Zoljanah could put satellites in a “310-mile altitude orbit and carry a 1,100-pound” payload. Solid-fuel rockets can be used for mobile launchers, while pure solid-fuel rockets are mostly linked to ballistic missile systems.
Earlier this month, Hosseini said the ministry planned three test launches, one of which had already been carried out.
Iran insists its space program is for civilian and defense purposes only and does not breach the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, or any other international agreement.
Western governments worry that satellite launch systems incorporate technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
Iran successfully put its first military satellite into orbit in April 2020, drawing a sharp rebuke from Washington.