Iran's attempt to jump start and advance its space program has suffered yet another snag, after on Sunday state television confirmed the latest attempt of an Iranian rocket to put a satellite into orbit has failed.
The launch operation at Imam Khomeini Spaceport, about 145 miles southeast Tehran, initially succeeded but then ultimately failed due to the Simorgh or “Phoenix” rocket's low speed, resulting in the Zafar 1 communications satellite not reaching orbit, according to the AP.
“Stage-1 and stage-2 motors of the carrier functioned properly and the satellite was successfully detached from its carrier, but at the end of its path it did not reach the required speed for being put in the orbit,” Defense Ministry space program spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said on state TV.
Last September, Washington imposed sanctions on Iran's space agency, its space research center, as well as an astronautics research institute — given all of these are seen as assisting the development of technology related to Iran's ballistic missiles capability.
The Trump administration has consistently charged that Iran's space program is geared toward advancing its banned ICBMs.
Over the past decade Iran has successfully put several short-lived satellites into orbit, but has been unable to advance beyond this.
Despite yet another embarrassing setback for the program, Iran's Defense Ministry still praised Sunday's launch as “remarkable” given the progress up to the point of failing to get the satellite into orbit.
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