Iran is believed to have attempted a botched launch of a satellite-carrying rocket in recent days and reportedly prepared to try another launch. This is the nation’s most recent attempt to develop its space industry, amid tensions with the Western world over its fractured nuclear accord.
The Launch Failure is Clear
Satellite pictures, a US diplomat, and a missile specialist all verified the botched attempt at Iran’s Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Semnan province earlier this month. The venture occurs as Iran’s space program has experienced a succession of famous setbacks; however, the Revolutionary Guard’s paramilitary program, which put a satellite into space the year before, continues unabated.
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) June 23, 2021
Later Wednesday, Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi claimed Iran launched a malfunctioning spacecraft; although, he gave no proof for the activities at the space center. An information request from Iran’s mission to the UN was left un answered
Planet Labs Inc. and Maxar Technologies’ aerial photographs from June 6 show preparations at the spaceport. These photographs show what seem to be fuel tanks next to a big white crane housing a rocket; this rocket is being fuelled and prepared for launch by experts. Technicians tow the tower away from the rocket before the launch to expose it.
It Appears They Will Try Again Soon
According to Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury International institute Studies’ James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the number of fuel tanks appears to have been sufficient to fill the the entire Iranian Simorgh rocket. He explained that the Simorgh is a satellite-carrying rocket that was launched from the same area as the spacecraft.
Interesting, IMHO besides launch of the Simorgh, there possible that Iran started testing the new Sarir SLV..https://t.co/bWXJxYBRWH
— Yuri Lyamin (@imp_navigator) June 23, 2021
On June 17, satellite pictures revealed a slowdown in movement at the location. Observers think Iran fired the rocket during that time frame, according to Lewis.
CNN cited Military spokesperson Lt. Col. Uriah Orland as saying the United States Space Command is informed of the Iranian space rocket accident that happened early on June 12. Orland didn’t go into detail. The Pentagon and the United States Space Command did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press early Wednesday.
— IFMAT (@IFMAT_org) June 23, 2021
It really wasn’t readily apparent why exactly Iran chose June 12 for launching, as such events are usually reserved for national celebrations. It could, however, occur in the lead-up to Iran’s national election earlier this month, wherein the Islamic Republic aimed to increase voter turnout.
Planet Labs released a new satellite photograph on Sunday that revealed ongoing activity at the location. A mobile platform (formerly used to deploy a Simorgh rocket to the crane), a supporting truck seen at past launches, and a new model of fuel tanks positioned at the launch facility are all visible in the image.
According to Lewis, the gear indicates that yet another launch is on the way.