Iran has placed a second military satellite into orbit amid ongoing talks that seek to revive a previous nuclear deal between Tehran and major western powers.
According to the local Tasnim news agency, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force launched the Noor-II satellite into a low-Earth orbit.
The ‘homegrown’ satellite was launched using a Qassed rocket and placed into a 500km orbit above Earth. The three-stage Qased carried the satellite from a launch pad in Shahroud, Iran.
Later, Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Issa Zare’pour confirmed the first signals from the satellite.
Noor-II will revolve around the Earth every 90 minutes and be used for reconnaissance and remote-sensing operations.
The launch comes nearly two years after IRGC placed the first military satellite Noor-I in orbit.
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IRGC Aerospace Force space commander Ali Jafarabadi was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We will launch a series of Noor satellites in the coming years. The space programme of the country, of which we are a part, is to stabilise various scientific, research and defence satellites in low-Earth orbit and then reach an orbit of 36,000km above land.”
In 2019, the US placed sanctions on Iran’s civilian space agency and two other research organisations due to their alleged involvement in ballistic missile programme.
Iran claims to pursue military and arms programmes for defensive purposes.
Last year, Iran tested long-range ballistic missiles during a military exercise. The state television claimed that these missiles have a range of around 1,800km.