Iran Opens Space Site to Reporters

Iran on Wednesday showed off a space technology site to roughly 50 reporters, an unprecedented move possibly aimed at challenging U.N. assertions that the Middle Eastern nation has concealed the full extent of its technical capacities, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Feb. 3).

The Alborz Space Center is the main command facility for the Navid satellite, program head Mojtaba Saradeghi told journalists visiting the site. Iran previously announced it had launched the orbiter earlier this month to collect data on meteorological events and dangerous natural occurrences. The mission marked Iran's third launch of an orbital spacecraft, according to previous reports.

Iran's space program has drawn concerns from the global community, as technology used to place objects into orbit can also be applied to ballistic missiles. Worries on the nation's missile capabilities are twinned with suspicions that Tehran is operating a nuclear-weapon drive in the guise of a civilian program. Iran says its atomic activities have no military component (see related GSN story, today).

Iranian space experts planned and built critical components for the Navid satellite it was unable to import as a result of international penalties, Saradeghi said.

"We needed various equipment, including sun sensors, for Navid. We could not buy them because of sanctions. So we designed and produced sun sensors ourselves," the official said (Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press/London Guardian, Feb. 29).

February 29, 2012
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Iran on Wednesday showed off a space technology site to roughly 50 reporters, an unprecedented move possibly aimed at challenging U.N. assertions that the Middle Eastern nation has concealed the full extent of its technical capacities, the Associated Press reported.

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