Iran says satellite ‘successfully’ launched without reaching orbit

By: AFP      Published: 11:16 PM, 9 Feb, 2020
Iran says satellite ‘successfully’ launched without reaching orbit

Iran “successfully” launched a satellite into space on Sunday but it fell short of reaching orbit, a defence ministry spokesman said on state television.

Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi admitted in a tweet that the launch “failed”, adding: “But We’re UNSTOPPABLE! We have more Upcoming Great Iranian Satellites!”

The satellite had been launched at 7:15 pm (1545 GMT) before it went “90 percent of the way”, reaching an altitude of 540 kilometres, said Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for the defence ministry’s space unit.

“The Simorgh (rocket) successfully propelled the Zafar satellite into space but the carrier did not reach the required speed to put the satellite into the intended orbit,” he told state television.

“Unfortunately, in the final moments the carrier did not reach the required speed.

“God willing with improvements made in future launches this part of the mission will be done as well,” he added.

“We achieved most of the goals we had and data has been acquired, and in the near future, by analysing the data, we will take the next steps.”

The satellite, which Iran says was to be used for scientific observation, is part of a programme that Tehran’s arch enemy Washington has described as a “provocation”.