The deputy head of the Iranian Space Agency said Iran is set to launch three satellites into space.
Hamid Fazeli made the announcement Saturday in Tehran at a ceremony at the beginning of World Space Week, an event meant to spur interest and support for space within Iran, as reported by Fars News Agency, a semi-official news source.
“The launching of satellites such as Sharif Sat, Zafar (Triumph), Tolou (Sunrise) and Pars with powerful locally designed carriers in the near future is on the agenda,” Fazeli stated from the sidelines of the annual event.
The satellites, which were designed and built by Iranian engineers, will reportedly be used to map topography and to capture pictures of earth from outer space and relay them to stations on the ground.
Fazeli added that the three Iranian satellites will be launched into orbit sometime in the next Persian calendar year (March 2015-March 2016).
He remarked that Iran is among the top five emerging nations in the global aerospace industry and that many countries are following in the footsteps of the Islamic Republic.
In July, the ISA claimed to have come up with a 10-year plan to develop Iran’s space program, a plan that includes sending the country’s first Iranian astronaut into space, as well as an array of remote sensing and telecommunication satellites, according to state-owned media channel PressTV.
Although Tehran has never officially sent an astronaut into space, in 2006 an Iranian-American entrepreneur, Anousheh Ansari, was aboard a civilian spaceflight that reached the International Space Station, making her the first Iranian national ever to do so.
The Iranian government has faced a series of well-documented setbacks and failed launches into space in the past decade and has had its claims refuted by experts who doubt the caliber of the Islamic Republic’s space program.