Iran launched an observation satellite into orbit, its Arabic satellite television channel Al-Alam reported Friday.
A report by the official Iranian news agency IRNA confirmed the launch: "The Navid satellite was launched successfully... It will be placed into orbit (at an altitude) between 250 and 370 kilometers," the head of Iran's Space Organization, Hamid Fazeli, said.
The launch followed a direct order by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Fazeli said that the domestically-produced satellite, will be used for scientific purposes and that its surveillance and imaging systems are more advanced that those mounted on previously launched Iranian satellites.
The launch's importance lies beyond the satellite's size and orbit trajectory – it signals Iran's
ability to launch the missile carrying it into space, which may indicate progress in its missile program.
"Navid" was launched in honor of the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, as Iran attempts to assert its technological abilities as a way to show that the sanctions
imposed on it by the West over its nuclear program,
have little effect.
Iran's Press TV reported Friday that the Islamic Republic "plans to establish a national satellite launch base with the cooperation of the country's Defense Ministry."
Ahmadinejad has reportedly ordered his cabinet to prepare an operational plan to that effect, Fazeli said.
Iran launched its first satellite in 2005, becoming the 43rd nation to send a satellite into space.
AFP contributed to this report
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