On 2 February 2009 the Islamic Republic of Iran made its first satellite launch, using a Safir rocket to deploy a small satellite, Omid. Ten years later Iran is boastful about plans for the future of its space program as it begins to mature, with new rockets entering service and new satellites preparing to launch.
The February 2009 launch of Omid, whose name means “Hope” in Farsi, saw Iran become the ninth sovereign nation to place a satellite into orbit using a rocket of their own development.
Omid was not Iran’s first satellite: Sina-1 was launched three and a half years earlier, however this spacecraft was constructed by Russia’s NPO Polyot and it flew to orbit atop a Kosmos-3M rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, rather than using an Iranian vehicle. With Omid, Iran demonstrated its self-reliance: building much of the satellite and performing the launch itself.
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This self-reliance has proven importance for Iran’s space program, providing access to space at a time when political pressures and sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to find international partners for its efforts. The West, for its part, has often characterized Iran’s ...