Iran launches 'space' rocket

Tehran said the rocket is designed to put in orbit its first research satellite.

    Ahmadinejad wants an 'influential presence' in space [File: GALLO/GETTY]

    "We need to have an active and influential presence in space," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, said in a televised ceremony before the launch.

    "Iran took its first step [to establish a presence in space] very strongly, precisely and wisely. Building and launching a satellite is a very important achievement."

    The ability to put satellites into orbit could indicate an advance in the country's missile technology.

    In November, Iran had built a new missile with a range of 2,000km, adding to the scope of its conventional arsenal.

    Western experts say Iran rarely gives enough details to determine how significant its technology advances are.

    They say much Iranian technology is based on modifications to equipment supplied by other countries, including China and North Korea.

    Space centre launched 

    Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad inaugurated Iran's first space centre, which includes an underground control station and  launch pad which was used to fire Omid into space.

    Iran has been pursuing a space programme in the last few years and in October 2005, an Iranian Russian-made satellite was put into orbit by a Russian rocket.
     
    But Omid would be Iran's first home-built probe and the first to be launched in Iran.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    We explore how Salah Ed-Din unified the Muslim states and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem from the crusaders.