Iran unveils its first privately designed satellite

By Orkhan Jalilov February 4, 2022

Eight Iranian “knowledge-based” private companies are developing a satellite named “Kowsar” which has now reached the testing and assembly stage. / IRNA News Agency

Scheduled to be launched into space by 2025, Iran’s “Kowsar” satellite has reached the testing and assembly stage.

“Iran will achieve the capability to make satellite images from 500 km orbit and capture images for agricultural purposes,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported on February 3.

The Kowsar satellite has reached the stage of testing and assembly after 2 years of effort by a consortium of eight knowledge-based private companies that came together under the organizational framework of a company named “Omid-e Faza (“Space Hope” in Persian).

The satellite was unveiled on National Space Technology Day in the presence of Manouchehr Manteghi, Secretary for Space Technology Development and Advanced Transportation, and Hassan Salariyeh, Director of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA).

The 30kg satellite was designed to have an operational life of two years, IRNA reported. For color imagery, the satellite will achieve a spatial resolution of 3.4m at six frames per second; for near infrared imagery, a spatial resolution will be 5.5 m at 28 frames per second.

The head of the ISA announced on February 3 that Iran plans to launch two Nahid-1 (Venus-1) satellites using the Zoljanah and Qaem (SLV) satellite launchers in the next Iranian year ( between March 2022 and March 2023).

The Nahid-1 satellite is the first step in Iran’s strategic communications satellite development program, and it was unveiled in early 2017. The project is designed to help Iran gain knowledge, technical capabilities and acquire experience in designing, building and launching such satellites. The satellite was ordered by ISA from the country’s Institute of Satellite Research, which itself is part of Iran’s Space Research Center (ISRC).

In early January, Iran carried out its first successful test of a solid propellant (SLV) satellite launcher engine named Raafe.

“Over the past two years, tests have been carried out on Iranian SLVs running on liquid fuel; it was a successful test of a solid-fuel engine that produced 66 tons of thrust,” said Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Commander Amir. said Ali Hajizadeh.

At the end of December 2021, the Iranian Ministry of Defense launched a Simorgh SLV carrying “three research payloads”. The search mission included the transfer of search equipment to an altitude of 470 kilometers, with a launch speed of 7,350 meters per second.

In February 2020, Iran launched a research satellite carrier called “Zoljanah”. The space launch vehicle was equipped with a three-stage carrier with two solid propulsion stages and one liquid propulsion stage. The vehicle would be capable of carrying satellites weighing up to 220 kilograms into a 500 kilometer orbit.

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