By: Mir M.Hosseini
Iran officially announced her entrance into space race by launching her first space research center and firing the Safir rocket designed to send her first home-made satellite named Omid. The new Iranian space center is located in the province of Semnan. The rocket blasted off from a launch pad in desert terrain and lit the night desert sky swiftly passing the layers of atmosphere. The project for the Omid satellite took the Iranian experts 10 years to accomplish and the satellite itself is designed to function in a low earth orbit system. In February 2007, Iran joined the international space-faring community when it successfully tested a rocket that went into space as part of its drive to launch five satellites into orbit by 2010. Iran has been pursuing a space program for the past few years. In October 2005, Iran's first satellite the Russian-made Sina-1 was put into orbit by a Russian rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
The launch of Safir rocket is aimed to test remote sensing, satellite telemetry, and geographic information system (GIS) technology as well as remote and ground station data processing. The launch of satellite-carrier rocket is considered as a triumph in scientific and technological progress despite increasing international sanctions on Iran leaded by her arch-foe, The United States who was irked by the news: "I saw this morning that Iran, again, tested a ballistic missile. It's unfortunate that they continue to do that because it further isolates the country from the rest of the world," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. The United States has been accusing Iran of aiming to equip its missiles with nuclear warheads as part of a cold war style campaign that followed a US spy network scandal. Iran categorically denies the charges and condemns cowboy policies of the US as a part of imperialistic efforts to keep the country backwards.
The successful launch of Safir shows that Iran has access to the modern technology required to manufacture, launch and track satellites as well as transmit and receive information from them. Iran said it has prepared for the satellite launch by sending a probe into space on the back of a rocket on the mission.