Iran says it simultaneously launched 3 satellites for 1st time using carrier rocket

This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry on Jan. 28, 2024, claims to show a satellite carrier being launched at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran's rural Semnan province  (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)
This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry on Jan. 28, 2024, claims to show a satellite carrier being launched at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran's rural Semnan province (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

Iran simultaneously launched three satellites for the first time using the Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite carrier rocket developed by the Defense Ministry, Iranian state media reports.

The launch is not immediately independently verified.

One satellite weighing 32 kg (70 pounds) and two nano-satellites of less than 10 kg each were sent to a minimum orbit of 450 km (280 miles), with the two smaller devices aimed at testing narrowband communication and geopositioning technology, the reports say.

The larger satellite, named “Mahda” and built by Iran’s Space Agency, is meant to test the accuracy of the Simorgh rocket in delivering multiple cargoes to space.

Iran launched its Sorayya satellite into orbit this month with a rocket built by the elite military Revolutionary Guards, raising concerns among European powers that the space launch vehicle’s technology could be used for the development of long-range ballistic missile systems.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles can be used to deliver nuclear weapons. Iran’s nuclear program now enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels after the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran on Saturday dismissed European countries’ condemnation of its launch of the Sorayya satellite, saying peaceful technological advancement in the aerospace field was the country’s legitimate right.

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