Wed, Feb 08, 2012
Space Program Increases Nervousness Over Nukes
Iran is suspected of developing nuclear weapons and has
conducted military exercises which look like dry runs for closing
down access to the Persian Gulf through the Straits of Hormuz. Now,
the Iranian government is backing up its chest-beating with news
that it has been able to put an earth-observation satellite into
orbit. The achievement demonstrates, among other things, the
potential to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the world.
According to a statement on Iran's official Farsi-language
website, the spacecraft, launched Friday, is named "Promise of
Science and Industry." The launch vehicle was reportedly a Safir
1-B rocket. The Christian Science Monitor reports Safir means
"Ambassador" in Farsi.
The satellite is described as a cube about 20 inches on a side,
and weighing 110 pounds. Its orbit will cross Iran about six times
a day, and Iranian space officials say its mission will support
researchers in studying Earth's weather systems and managing
responses to natural disasters.
Iran had its first successful domestic satellite launch three
years ago, and says it hopes to have a manned mission by 2020, and
make a manned Moon landing by 2025.
FMI: www.isa.ir (Look for link
near top of home page for English version)
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