Sunday, January 30, 2011

Iran inaugurates space test laboratories

Iran has launched a number of laboratories for testing “space structures and systems” in line with its progressing space program, the Iranian Defense Ministry says.

The labs have been inaugurated by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ahead of the Ten Days of Dawn (February 1-10) celebrations marking the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Planning and setting up the laboratories is in continuation of firm steps taken by Iranian experts in putting domestically-built satellites into orbit, said Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi during the inauguration ceremony of the labratories, IRIB reported.

Vahidi said the Defense Ministry constructed ten labs to “reinforce infrastructures of Iran's space industry” and help improve the abilities of human resources. He also noted that Iran is expected to unveil other space projects in the near future.

Iran launched its first domestically-produced satellite, Omid, into space in 2009.

Omid (meaning 'Hope' in Persian) was put into orbit by the Iranian-produced satellite carrier Safir 2 which is an upgraded model of carrier Safir 1 which was launched in 2007.

Equipped with two frequency bands and eight antennas, Omid transmitted information to and from earth while orbiting the planet 15 times per day.

The lightweight telecommunications satellite was equipped with remote sensing, satellite telemetry and geographic information system technology as well as remote and ground station data processing.

Omid is a research satellite that has been designed for gathering information and testing equipment. After orbiting the earth, Omid returned to earth with data that helped Iranian experts to send an operational satellite into space.

The Islamic Republic also unveiled its first major space center in 2008 with launching the first Iranian rocket, Explorer-1, into space.

Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which was set up in 1959. To date, only eight countries have put domestically-made satellites into orbit.

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