Iran said Saturday it had conducted a successful satellite launch into its highest orbit yet, the latest for a program the West fears improves Tehran’s ballistic missiles, the Associated Press reports. The Iranian Soraya satellite was placed in an orbit at some 750 kilometers (460 miles) above the Earth’s surface with its three-stage Qaem 100 rocket, the state-run IRNA news agency said. It did not immediately acknowledge what the satellite did, though telecommunications minister Isa Zarepour described the launch as having a 50-kilogram (110-pound) payload.

Qaem’s first orbital flight … The United States has previously said Iran’s satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution and called on Tehran to undertake no activity involving ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. UN sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program expired last October. Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons and says its space program, like its nuclear activities, is for purely civilian purposes. This was the third launch of the Qaem rocket, which can loft up to 80 kg to low-Earth orbit. A suborbital test flight in 2022 was successful, but the first orbital attempt last March failed. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

[30 Jan 2024] Iran successfully launches Qaem 100 rocket
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