TEHRAN: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has successfully put a second military satellite, the Noor 2, into orbit, on Tuesday.
According to the IRGC, ‘Noor-2 Satellite’, the second Iranian military satellite, was launched from the Qased carrier and was placed in 500-km orbit.
Now Iran has two military satellites in orbits close to the earth.
The announcement came as talks held in Vienna to revive an agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear program have reaching a critical stage.
Noor 2 is orbiting at an altitude of 500 kilometers (311 miles). The first military satellite, launched by the Islamic Republic in April 2020, placed the Noor, or “light” in Persian, at an orbit of 425km (265 miles) above the earth’s surface.
Putting the second satellite in space would be a major advance for Iran’s military, raising concerns about the country’s nuclear and missile programs.
The US military says the same long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also allow Tehran to launch longer-range weapons, possibly including nuclear warheads.
Tehran denies US assertions that such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development and says it has never pursued the development of nuclear weapons.
“The IRGC successfully placed Iran’s second military satellite, Noor 2, into orbit 500 kilometers from earth,” Tasnim said.
The three-stage Qased, or “Messenger”, the carrier launched the Noor 2, from the Shahroud spaceport, it added. The same type of rockets, which use a combination of liquid and solid fuels, carried the first military satellite.
In December, Iran’s space launch failed to put its three payloads into orbit after the rocket was unable to reach the required speed, a defense ministry spokesman said.
The attempted launch drew criticism from the United States, Germany, and France.
Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programs in the Middle East, has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent years due to technical issues.
The United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s civilian space agency and two research organizations in 2019, saying they were being used to advance Tehran’s ballistic missile program. Tehran denies that its space activity is a cover for ballistic missile development.