August 20, 2008

Iran Says Will Send First Astronaut to Space Within 10 Years (More)

Text of report by Iranian conservative, privately-owned Fars News Agency website

Tehran, 20 August: [Head of Iran's Aerospace Organization Reza] Taqipur has said: Extensive studies are being conducted on sending astronauts to the space and the issue is one of the 10-year objectives of the country.

According to Fars News Agency, Taqipur said that Iran intends to pave the way for sending its first astronaut to the space within the next 10 years. He said: The exact time of the implementation of this project will be announced within the six to 12 months.

According to Taqipur, advancement in aerospace technology, in view of the vastness of the area of knowledge, is one of the main strategies of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As mentioned in the 20- Year Economic Outlook, Iran should rank first in the region in aerospace industries by 1400 [2021].

He said: To this end, a 10-year Objectives plan has been designed and the recent launch of a satellite-carrier was a result of that plan.

The head of Iran's Aerospace Organization said that one of Iran's important space programmes is to build rockets that can carry satellites. He said that only few countries have the capability to do so and that Iran, with its successful launch of Safir-e Omid satellite-carrier, joined the group.

He said that such programmes were costly in all of the countries of the world, adding: India has spent over 15bn dollars to progress in this area over the past 30 years. The real value of this investment is now 35bn dollars.

Taqipur said: For peaceful use of outer space, Iran has had cooperation with Italy and Russia and this cooperation will continue in the future. However, no country helped Iran in building the satellite which was launched and all of the stages of the construction of the satellite were carried out by Iranian experts. This technology is now considered to be indigenized.

In his interview with Press TV, Taqipur referred to Iran's cooperation with Islamic states in building the Islamic "Besharat" satellite, saying: Iran is one of the advocates of Asia-Pacific cooperation in aerospace industries and in the future, a joint satellite called SMMS, in the building of which Iran was involved, will be launched.

Taqipur also said that the advancement in aerospace technologies would lead to economic and scientific progress in the country and that one of its major economic results would be a high volume of job creation.

The head of Iran's Aerospace Company said: The launching of Omid satellite [as published] has cost about half a million dollars and the figure is exclusive of the amount spent on preparing the infrastructure for the industry.

He expressed the hope that Omid satellite would be placed in the earth's orbit within the next 12 months.

Originally published by Fars News Agency website, Tehran, in Persian 1052 20 Aug 08.

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