Iran to Launch Satellite with Own Rocket to Space

A00210556.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran plans to launch a satellite into space soon using an Iranian-made rocket, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

Iran has in the past launched satellites using rockets built by other nations, but this was the first announcement of such a launch with an all-Iranian made rocket.

Addressing a meeting with a group of Iranian expatriates in New York, where the Iranian president is attending the 63rd UN General Assembly session, Ahmadinejad said the rocket will have 16 engines and will take a satellite some 430 miles into space.

The satellite will likely be a commercial one for communication or meteorological research purposes. Iran has never announced plans to launch military satellites.

But the country has long pursued the goal of developing a space program, generating unease among US leaders.

Earlier this month, Tehran announced that a joint research satellite built by Iran, China and Thailand, was sent into orbit by a Chinese-made rocket. At the time, Iranian officials said the three countries suffer from natural disasters and that the satellite would transmit photos to help deal with such crises.

Tehran sent its first commercial satellite into space on a Russian rocket in 2005. Last month, Iran tested a rocket which it hopes will one day carry an all-Iranian research satellite.

There were no details about what type of satellite the rocket would carry, and Ahmadinejad gave no time frame for the plan.

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