Imam Khomeini Space Center

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Last Updated: December 1, 2010
Other Name: Semnan Spaceport; Semnan Space Center
Location: Semnan, Iran
Subordinate To: Iranian Space Agency
Size: Two launch complexes, horizontal rocket assembly and checkout building, engine test stand, support buildings.
Facility Status: Operational


Iran inaugurated the Semnan Spaceport (now known as the Imam Khomeini Space Center) in early 2008, with a test launch of the Kavoshgar 1 (Explorer 1) rocket, which appeared to be a modified Shahab-3B. [1] Construction of the complex reportedly began in 2003. [2] Satellite images taken of the site in 2009 show extensive infrastructure development including the construction of a horizontal rocket assembly and checkout building, and an engine test stand. [3]

The older launch complex is comprised of a circular pad, which replaced the original dirt patch. It has a collapsible umbilical tower to support the Safir space launch vehicle (SLV) and other rockets. In February 2009, Iran successfully launched an 'Omid' satellite weighing 27kg into orbit from the Semnan site using the Safir two-stage rocket. [4] In May 2009, Iran successfully tested a Sejil 2 medium-range surface-to-surface missile launched from or close to the Semnan site. [5]

In March 2010, satellite images revealed the construction of a second launch pad roughly 3km east of the original site. [6] It includes a gantry tower, an umbilical tower, and two flame trenches. The gantry tower is aproximately 45m tall, which far exceeds the needs of the Safir or Simorgh SLVs.

Iran also constructed an engine test stand, suggesting it will test new or indigionous designs.

Sources:
[1] Aresu Eqbali, "Iran Opens First Space Centre, Launches Rocket," AFP, 4 February 2008; James Hackett, "Iran's Great Missile Leap," The Washington Times, 25 February 2008, www.washingtontimes.com.
[2] "Nuclear Iran, Production Capability," Jane's CBRN Assessments, 1 October 2009, www.janes.com.
[3] "Massive Construction Visible at Iran's Missile and Space Center at Semnan," Defense Update, 5 November 2009, www.defense-update.com.
[4] Geoffrey Forden, "Congratulations Iran!" Arms Control Wonk Blog, 3 February 2009, www.armscontrolwonk.com.
[5] Ali Akbar Dareini, "Iran Tests Missile with Range that Can Hit Israel," AP Online, 21 May 2009; "Iran Missile Test Appears 'Successful,' U.S. Officials," AFP, 20 May 2009.
[6] Yaakov Katz, "New Iranian Missile Launch Pad Revealed," The Jerusalem Post, 7 March 2010, www.jpost.com.

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