body#layout #main-top { display:none; } -->

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Iran launches its own satellite

Iran has successfully sent its first domestically made satellite into orbit, the country's president announced Tuesday, claiming a significant step in an ambitious space program that has worried many international observers.

The satellite, called Omid, or hope in Farsi, was launched late Monday after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave the order to proceed, according to a report on state radio. State television showed footage of what it said was the nighttime liftoff of the rocket carrying the satellite at an unidentified location in Iran.

A senior U.S. defense official in Washington said the U.S. military detected the launch of a missile into space. But it was not confirmed whether the missile was carrying a satellite, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak about the intelligence.

In Jerusalem, the head of Israel's Space Agency, Zvi Kaplan, said initial reports show that a satellite was launched.

"From what I have been investigating it is true," he said. "We are not surprised because in this day and age of information and technology and with Iranian scientists studying abroad they can obtain the knowledge." More