August 18, 2008

Iran Ready to Transfer Space Technology to Muslim States – Official

At 1815gmt, Iranian TV's network two started its nightly roundtable discussion on Iran's recent space launch. Iran announced on 17 August that it successfully launched Safir-e Omid satellite- carrier. Dr Taqipur, the head of Iran's Space Organization and Dr Ebrahimi, aerospace expert and university professor, were present as the guests in the programme.

The roundtable started with a short report on the importance of having a space programme and having a satellite in the orbit. The report said: "Iran has joined the club of few countries that can build and launch satellite-carrier. Safir-e Omid satellite-carrier can place a light satellite into the LEO orbit which is between the range of 250km and 500km of altitude. The length of Safir-e Omid is nearly 22 metres, its diameter is 1.25 meter and its weight is over 26 tonnes. Over 10,000 complicated industrial parts have been used in the carrier, which have all been build domestically.... This satellite-carrier is fully home-grown and is made in Iran. With the successful launch of the carrier, Iran has proved its ability to place light objects in low orbits."

Back in the studio, Dr Taqipur was asked to explain, in technical terms, what Iran exactly launched.

Taqipur said: "The objective of the test last night was to confirm the capabilities of Safir-e Omid satellite-carrier. As you know from previous reports, last Bahman [February 08] Iran launched Kavoshgar-e 1 [Explorer 1] rocket to identify the route of its satellites. We received and interpreted the information sent by the explorer, and used it as a basis for our preparations for the launch of the satellite-carrier. This test in fact confirmed that Safir can successfully carry out its mission, which is placing light satellites into LEO-orbit."

He also said that testing ground stations was another objective of the test launch.

Dr Ebrahimi then said that constructing a satellite-carrier was one of the most complicated parts of launching a satellite, which involved cooperation among various types of engineering such as structure engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.

Asked to comment on the control systems of the satellite-carrier and the precision of the system, Ebrahimi said that Kavoshgar-1 [Explorer 1] rocket was indeed launched to ensure the accuracy of the launch.

Asked on what other organizations were involved in the launch, Dr Taqipur said that designing and building a satellite-carrier required the cooperation of universities and private sector. He said seven Iranian universities are currently involved in aerospace studies.

On the ground stations and their importance, Ebrahimi said that the all the path-controlling systems are carried out at ground stations and route corrections are made from the ground. On the launch pad, he said that the pad and its construction are very complicated. Apart from ground stations, he said, there are other stations involved that help the launch.

On the controversies over the distance travelled by the carrier, Taqipur said that there must have been a misunderstanding in the figures announced. He said Safir-e Omid could have paved a distance of 800km; however, it was originally due to travel a distance between 250km and 550km, which it did successfully.

Taqipur said that a dummy satellite was launched for the test and that the result of the test has convinced Iran that it can now launch a real satellite. He said the information that has been registered at all the space stations indicate that the test went very successfully.

On the error margin of the carrier, Ebrahimi said that the error margin was very low - 99 per cent.

Asked to comment on the management of the whole project, Taqipur said that Iran displayed a high level of management and coordination throughout the project, since launching a satellite-carrier required cooperation among many different fields of work.

On what Iran learnt from the project, Taqipur said that the related organizations have documented all the process and have left valuable experience for the generations to come. He said many aerospace text books currently taught at universities have been written by Iranian scientists.

Taqipur said that the sanctions imposed on Iran have been a blessing in disguise for Iranian scientists who have managed to make the achievement. Taqipur said that many of the countries that have satellites in the orbit ask other members of the space club to launch their satellites for them. However, he said, because of sanctions, Iran was deprived of such cooperation and therefore, the sanctions tempted Iranian scientists to build, design and launch their own satellites.

At 1845gmt, Engineer Mohammadi, expert on satellite engines, joined the conversation on the phone and explained that a combination of mechanical, metallurgy, aerospace and systems control engineering was needed for the design of the engines of satellites.

Mohammadi explained how satellite engines work in an Oxygen-free environment and said that simulator softwares, designed by Iranian experts, were used extensively during the project which led to a low- cost production of the engine.

Asked if the design of such engines was a prelude to Iran gaining a technology for the construction of other types of engine, Mohammadi said other types of engine work differently from satellite engines and that the technology may not be used in other engine- designs.

Then Ebrahimi went on to explain on how satellite-carriers burn down and do not turn into space waste.

Asked to comment on the laws of satellites and orbits, and whether or not Iran will lose its space allocation, Taqipur said that there were three types of low-orbit, meo-orbit and geo- stationary orbits. He said that the geo-stationary orbits have been allocated to each country and that Iran owns three spaces. Taqipur said that Iran has already occupied the three spaces using rented satellites or satellites that have been built in cooperation with other countries.

For the final question, Taqipur was asked whether the whole project was cost-effective or not. Taqipur said that considering the experience and the scientific achievements, the project was definitely cost-effective. He also said that Tehran was ready to transfer the technology to neighbouring states and other Muslim countries at the Organization of Islamic Conference that have expressed their interest in sponsoring the project.

The round table ended at 1900gmt.

Originally published by Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2, Tehran, in Persian 1815 18 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Middle East. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.