Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Iran, some Arab countries, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia to boost space cooperation

Iran's Telecommunications Minister Reza Taqipour says Turkey, Pakistan and some Arab countries have volunteered to collaborate with Iran on design and launch of a satellite for Islamic states.

Tehran first announced plans for launching the "Besharat" satellite into space with the help of member states of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in February 2009.

"Apart from Iran, some Arab countries, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia will participate voluntarily in building and launching of the Besharat satellite," Taqipour told Mehr news agency on Saturday.

"Among the OIC member states there are a few with space technology, with Iran at the top. This is why materializing this project will depend on Iranian capabilities,” he added.

Iranian officials say Islamic countries could use satellite imagery for hazard and natural disaster management as well as accurate cartography.

In October, the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) ratified a bill allowing the government to enhance its efforts to design and launch satellites and satellite carriers.

On Monday, Iranian lawmakers voted in favor of Article 49 of a bill in the country's Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2011-2015), which will authorize the government to set up the infrastructure needed for the Islamic Republic's satellite projects.

Omid was the third Iranian-made satellite to be sent into space. Three years after Russia launched Iran's first satellite in 2005, another satellite --jointly designed by Iran, China, and Thailand -- was launched into orbit by China.

Tehran also plans to launch the country's first manned mission into space by 2019.

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