Five Years of Iran's Space Efforts

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Iranian Scientists Break New Grounds in Conquering Space

Long-term and transnational efforts made by Iranian scientists to get their hands on the latest space technologies following the Islamic Revolution, has put Iran on the list of five pioneer space powers of the world. The following article is a general review of Iran's space achievements during the past five years and provides an account on the path that has been taken by Iranian scientists which has led to their achievements.

To make a long story short, successful launch of living creatures into space, launch of communication and imaging satellites, as well as establishment of a space monitoring base have been among salient features of Iran's space achievements during the past five years.

Year 2009 and 1st steps in launching living creatures into space

Achievement of technical know-how for the construction and launch of satellites by countries is considered among their strategic projects. As a result of such efforts, Iranian space researchers mastered the technical know-how for manufacturing satellites in 2009. Following their primary achievement, they successfully launched Omid (Hope) satellite, sent live payload into the space, built microsatellites, and finally built satellite carriers and explorers.

It was during the same year that researchers from Sharif University of Technology successfully designed, built and implemented a resilient satellite simulator. This plane-based satellite simulator was designed for a single satellite with resilient arms and components. It was capable of measuring the vibration in the arms and angular position of the “hard” part. It was also blessed with an air suspension system as well as data processing and control facilities. During the same year, Amir Kabir University of Technology, in cooperation with Iran Space Agency, designed the AUT SAT, whose goal was to observe the land from space and help with the assessment of agricultural land.

As a result of further development of Iran's space technology, Iranian researchers finally managed to design and build a new generation of satellites, called Tolou’ (Sunrise), which was ultimately unveiled during the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies in February 2010. The satellite was designed and made by Iranian specialists and scientists from Iran Electronics Industries (SAIRAN), which was a long stride toward active and continued presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in space and helped the country to make the most of its capacities in this regard.

During the same day, Mesbah 2, Tolou’ and Navid (Promise) projects, designed and implemented by Iran University of Science and Technology, as well as the project of Simorgh satellite carrier were unveiled.

On February 3, 2010, the National Day of Space Technology was marked by launching Kavoshgar (Explorer) 3 into space, which took with it the first payload of live animals into the space. Kavoshgar 3 consisted of such subsystems as structure, bio-capsule, and power generator as well as special systems for sending data and pictures to the Earth in addition to environmental sensors.

The bio-capsule contained such creatures as a turtle, worms, and mice. It also contained five cellular particles which were sent into the space as part of a study on the way cells are divided in the space and problems that this process may face. At that time, space researchers hoped that if the research results were finalized, they would be able to launch into space the second live payload which would contain bigger animals.

Year 2010 and sending simulated doll into space

As a prelude to send humans into space, our country’s researchers used a simulated doll, instead of living creatures, into space in 2010. During the same year, it was announced that Mesbah satellite, which was designed and built by Iranian researchers would be sent into the space in 2013. Also, AUT SAT, whose research contract had been signed between Iran Space Agency and Amir Kabir University of Technology in 2009, was set for space launch in 2012.

One of the main achievements by Iran in the field of aerospace in 2010 was the establishment of a space research laboratory at Khajeh Nassir Toosi University of Technology. The laboratory can be used for design and manufacture of necessary systems that control position of satellite in the space as well as sensors used on space systems.

Construction of a laboratory for measuring three degrees of dynamic freedom, controlling position of space systems, manufacturing a wind tunnel, design and manufacture of industrial- and laboratory-scale operators for systems that control position of space systems, and laboratory-scale construction of sensors for space systems were other achievements of Iran in the field of aerospace during the same year.

Building engineering samples of national and indigenized Navid (Promise) and Zafar (Victory) satellites in 2010 were other grounds broken in this regard. The space sample of Navid satellite was built weighing 50 kg. According to plans, it was supposed to be launched in the first half of the

Iranian year, 1390 (2010-2011). Zafar satellite launch had been scheduled for 2012.

Iran, which had already launched Omid (Hope) satellite as a new chapter it its space research, also unveiled three more satellites; that is, Rasad (Observation), Fajr (Dawn), and Amir Kabir. Their mission was to study natural disasters, do remote measurement and send pictures to the Earth.

Fajr satellite was made operational by Iran Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The satellite gets its necessary energy from solar cells and is among reconnaissance satellites which can stay in the space for a long time.

Rasad satellite was another of Iran's aerospace projects whose main mission is to take photos and do remote measurement.

Year 2011, a year for launching Iranian satellites

The year 2011 was the year of launching Iranian satellites. On June 15, 2011, the world was informed that Iran had put Rasad satellite on Leo orbit of the Earth.

It was the first imaging satellite to be launched by Iran and all stages of design, manufacture, assembly, test and preparation had been carried out inside the country.

The satellite was carried by Safir (Messenger) 2 satellite carrier, which was the Islamic Republic of Iran's second satellite carrier, and was put in the orbit at an altitude of 260 km from the surface of the Earth.

During the same year, on the occasion of the National Day of Space Technology, the national document of Iran's aerospace policies as well as a model of Iran's space park were unveiled.

Navid-e Elm-o San'at (Gospel of Science and Technology) satellite was also launched on February 3, 2012.

The launch of Navid satellite, with the mission to do remote measurement, was carried out using Safir Navid satellite carrier which is among Safir B1 class of satellite carriers that have been developed by the Iranian Ministry of Defense’s Aerospace Organization.

Compared to previous satellites, this satellite enjoyed better control technology and the resolution of its images had been increased. The necessary power to keep it going was supplied by solar cells.

Year 2012 and Iran's success in returning the first living creature from space

The year 2012 was the time when the first Iranian monkey called Aftab (Sun), was sent into space onboard Pishgam (Pioneer) satellite carrier and successful returned to the Earth.

Dispatching live creatures into space should be undoubtedly considered the most important achievement of Iran's aerospace industry in 2012. However, efforts made by researchers and scientists for the manufacture of satellites and satellite carriers should not be ignored as well. It was during the same year that in addition to sending a bio-capsule containing live creatures into space, Iranian specialists in aerospace embarked on designing and manufacturing nine satellites and three satellite carriers. Most of them are now in final stages of production and getting ready to establish Iran's position among top countries with space technology.

Therefore, in addition to terminating the mission of Navid satellite, other hallmarks which can be considered among prominent measures taken by Iran's aerospace sector during the same year included: designing Zafar satellite by Iran University of Science and Technology; designing Sepehr (Sky) satellite by Khajeh Nassir Toosi University of Technology; unveiling the flying model of AUT SAT satellite by Amir Kabir University of Technology; end of production of a satellite by Sharif University of Technology; completion of Fajr satellite; as well as the beginning of studies on Nahid, Tolou’ and Zohreh satellites. At the same time, Iranian aerospace technicians put manufacturing Safir, Simorgh, and Kavoshgar 5 satellite carriers on their agenda.

In April 2012, Navid-e Elm-o San'at (Gospel of Science and Technology) satellite finished its 60-day mission with complete success.

Zafar satellite along with Simorgh satellite carrier went through the final stages of their production in the same year through cooperation of Iran Electronics Industries (SAIRAN) and Iran University of Science and Technology.

Manufacture of Fajr satellite, which was a satellite different from such student satellites as Omid, Navid and Rasad, also continued in 2012.

One of the main differences between these satellites and other satellites launched so far is that Fajr satellite is going to be manufactured with Iranian engines with respective powers of 200-400 Newton. The engines have been made by Tarbiat Modarres University and when satellites are launched using these engines, they will be capable of changing orbit.

At the same time, design and manufacture of Sepehr student satellite has been slated for the said year by specialists from Khajeh Nassir Toosi University of Technology and is on the agenda of the university’s aerospace department.

The student AUT SAT satellite was originally supposed to be put into space by Simorgh satellite carrier. However, due to changes, it has been scheduled for launch by Safir A1 satellite carrier.

Sharif University of Technology built its student satellite, Sharif SAT, during the same year to do its part along with other universities that are actively cooperating with the country’s aerospace industry. At present, engineering and flying models of this student satellite are ready.

On the fifth day of Ten-Day Dawn celebrations in 2012, and during a ceremony held to mark the National Day of Space Technology, developmental models of Zohreh and Nahid satellites were unveiled by the president.

Both developmental models of Zohreh and Nahid satellites were designed and manufactured in Satellite Systems Center of Iran Space Research Institute for the first time. Nahid satellite is a research project whose goals include design, manufacture and test of an opening mechanism for solar cells; design and development and test of telecommunication equipment for sending and receiving information on KU frequency; as well as development and implementation of joint multidisciplinary projects using specialized teams in order to develop advanced space systems.

Iran has also put the manufacture of Tolou’ 1 satellite on the agenda as a prelude to country’s movement toward operating satellites which are special to remote measurement.

At the same time, manufacture of Simorgh satellite carrier, whose mission is part of Safir 2 project, is currently under way.

Year 2013 and sending 2nd Iranian monkey into space

On the first day of Research Week in October 2013, Iran's space scientists successfully dispatched the country’s second monkey, called Fargam, into space onboard Pazhouhesh (Research) explorer, which used liquid fuel. Following the launch, the live payload was successfully returned to the ground.

The launch, as put by officials of Iran Space Agency, was considered a suborbital launch. Thereafter, endeavors by Iranian scientists aimed at increasing the altitude of launch to beyond the Earth’s atmosphere have continued. They are actually planning to keep such efforts up until they achieve their main goal which is sending humans into space. Also, on the occasion of the National Day of Space Technology during the Ten-Day Dawn celebrations in 2013, Tadbir (Foresight) and Persian Gulf satellites were unveiled.

The Persian Gulf telecommunications satellite has been designed and manufactured by Malek Ashtar University of Technology. It is compatible with ground-based wireless communications of Iran and is able to provide satellite wireless communication services in a safe and secure manner while covering all the national geographical expanse of Iran. It can operate on a regional scale as well. The satellite is equipped with small and light user terminals which can be used by relief workers under conditions of crisis resulting from natural disasters.

The Persian Gulf satellite has been used to establish safe communication services by allocating a narrow communications band. It can also support short messaging services both inside and outside Iran's national borders. This project seeks to establish a full satellite system around Iran in the future.

Tadbir satellite has been designed and manufactured under supervision of Iran Space Agency. The project has been carried out by Space Research Center of Iran University of Science and Technology. It is a totally indigenous project carried out by teachers and students of this university in cooperation with domestic industries over a period of five months. This new satellite is the developed version of Navid satellite of Iran University of Science and Technology and its main mission is to take high-resolution photos.

Source: Mehr News Agency
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

*Photo Credit: Fars News, Mehr News, Press TV, Mashregh