Iran Likely Had Failed Rocket Launch Preparing

Iran likely had failed the rocket launch, preparing for another. Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Iran has likely failed launches of satellite-carrying rockets in recent days and now appears to be gearing up for a re-attempt in recent efforts to advance its space program amid tensions with the West over an old nuclear weapon. . deal.

Satellite imagery, US officials, and rocket experts all confirmed the failed launch from the Imam Khomeini spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province earlier this month.

The attempt comes as Iran’s space program suffers a series of notable losses, while the Paramilitary Revolutionary Guard runs its own parallel program that launched a satellite into orbit last year. Iran’s U.S. Communications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jaro on Wednesday denied Iran’s failure to launch the satellite but did not explain its activities in the spaceport. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to requests for comment.

Satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. and Maxar Technologies show the preparation from the space station on June 6. The image includes what looks like a fuel tank, with a huge white gantry housing the rockets, the scientists refueling, and Prepare to launch. Before launch, the operator tows the gantry to expose the rocket.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said the number of fuel tanks based on size appears to be sufficient to fill phases 1 and 2 of the Iranian Simorgh rocket. . Simorgh is a satellite-carrying rocket launched from the same area of ​​the spaceport, he said.

Subsequent June 17 satellite imagery showed a decrease in field activity. Lewis said analysts believe Iran fired a rocket at some point from that window. “Nothing exploded,” he said. “There were no big stains like dumping fuel and the vehicle just moved around.” “The overall level of activity in the field was much lower. So to our minds, it looked like a shot.”

“United States. Space Command is aware of the failure of the Iranian rocket launch that occurred on early June 12.” He did not detail the failed launch initially reported by CNN. It wasn’t immediately clear why Iran would have chosen the June 12 launch, as Iran usually plans such launches for national commemoration. But ahead of Iran’s presidential election last week, the Islamic Republic hoped to boost turnout.

On Sunday, new satellite imagery from Planet Labs showed new activity in the field. This image shows the mobile platform previously used to anchor Simorgh rockets on the gantry, support vehicles seen from previous launches, and a new line of fuel containers lined up in the field. Lewis said the equipment hints that another launch is imminent.

In the past decade, Iran has sent a few short-lived satellites into orbit, and in 2013 it launched a monkey into space. However, the program has recently witnessed problems. The launch failure this month will be the fourth in a row for the Simorgh program. A separate fire at Imam Khomeini Space Airport in February 2019 killed three researchers, authorities said at the time.

The rocket explosion in August 2019 caught the attention of then-President Donald Trump, who later tweeted what appeared to be a classified surveillance image of the launch failure. Successive failures have raised suspicions of outside interference in Iran’s programs. Trump himself hinted in a tweet at the time that the United States was “not involved in a catastrophic accident.” But Lewis said such failures are common.

Especially when trying to carefully put an object into Earth’s orbit. Meanwhile, the Guard successfully launched a satellite into orbit in April 2020, revealing its own secret space program. The head of the U.S. Space Command dismissed the satellite as a “webcam waving in space” that did not provide important Iranian intelligence.

Although it has demonstrated Tehran’s ability to successfully enter orbit. The launch comes after the landslide of Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Rishi, Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief, who was tied to the mass executions of thousands in 1988. The vote was the lowest turnout in a presidential election since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Raisi will succeed in Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2018, sparking months of tension in the wider Middle East that continues to this day. Diplomats in Vienna are now negotiating a way for Iran and the US to get back into negotiations, with Iran agreeing to limit its nuclear enrichment in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

The United States has argued that such satellite launches violate UN Security Council resolutions and urged Iran not to engage in activities involving ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear weapons.

Iran, which has long said it does not seek nuclear weapons, has previously claimed that it has no military component in its satellite launches and rocket tests. U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran abandoned its military nuclear program organized in 2003.

But Simorgh is too large to be fueled by too slow to make a good carrier for nuclear-tipped weapons, Lewis said. He said, “It’s a butter knife. Can you stab someone with a butter knife? Yes, but it is not really a tool.”

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