Iran Plans to Send first Astronaut to Space in 10 Years

A048455711.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Space Organization chief Reza Taghipour Wednesday said Iran will send its first astronaut to space within the following decade.

“One of the aims of Iran’s 10-year space program is to send a manned rocket into space,” Taghipour said.

“Within the next six months to one year, the exact date of this mission will be determined,” he added.

Iran must win the first place in space technology in the region by the Iranian year of 1400 (the equivalent Christian year of 2021) and related studies have been carried out in the field, he said.

Taghipour said Iran was working with Russia and other Asian states to launch another satellite.

“For the peaceful use of the space, Iran has cooperated with Russia and Italy, and this will be continued in the future,” he said.

The official also said Islamic satellite “Besharat” (meaning Good News) is being constructed by Iran and some other Islamic countries.

Iran announced Sunday that it successfully launched a home-made satellite-carrier rocket named Safir (messenger) and placed a dummy satellite into orbit. Safir is Iran’s first domestically made satellite carrier, capable of putting lightweight satellites into low earth orbit.

On Sunday, the Space Agency chief said the two-stage rocket released equipment that beamed flight data back to ground control.

On Monday, head of Iran’s space agency Reza Taghipour said that the Safir launch paves the way for Iran to send its domestically-built telecommunication satellite named Omid (hope) into orbit “in the near future.”

Iran planned to put a “series of satellites” into space by 2010 to aid natural disaster management programs and improve telecommunications, Taghipour added.

In February, Iran said it has prepared for the satellite launch by sending a probe into space on the back of a rocket on the mission.

Last Friday, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said in an interview in Istanbul that Iran would in the near future launch its first domestically made satellite to the space.

Despite long-time intense sanctions imposed by the West on the Islamic Republic, Iran has pursued a successful space program during the last several years.

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