An Iranian satellite was successfully launched into orbit by a Russian rocket.
MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — On Tuesday, a Russian rocket successfully launched an Iranian satellite into orbit.
The Soyuz rocket launched as planned from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur launch facility at 8:52 a.m. Moscow time (0552 GMT) Tuesday.
It launched the Iranian satellite, Khayyam, into orbit about nine minutes later. It was named after Omar Khayyam, a Persian scientist from the 11th and 12th centuries.
Iran has stated that the satellite, which is equipped with a high-resolution camera, will be used for environmental monitoring and will be completely under its control.
Tehran has stated that no other country will have access to the information gathered and that it will only be used for civilian purposes, but there have been allegations that Russia may use it to spy on Ukraine during its military action there.
If it is successful, the satellite will allow Iran to monitor its archenemy Israel as well as other Middle Eastern countries.
Iranian state television broadcast lives footage of the launch, noting that the country’s telecommunications minister was present at the launch in Kazakhstan.
According to state television, the satellite will provide high-resolution surveillance images with a one-meter-per-pixel resolution, citing Iran’s civilian space agency. Western civilian satellites have a resolution of about half a meter per pixel, while US spy satellites are thought to have even higher resolution.
Iran has both a civilian and military space program, which the United States fears will be used to advance its ballistic missile program. However, in recent years, Iran has experienced a string of mishaps and failed satellite launches.
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