Photo Credit: NASA / Wikimedia Commons.
Iran reported the successful test-launch of a satellite-carrying rocket last week named Zuljanah, for the horse of Hussein, the grandson of the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad.
The rocket used solid fuel in its first two stages of launch and liquid fuel for the third, according to a report by Aljazeera quoting Iranian Defense Ministry Space Division spokesperson Ahmad Hosseini, who said the rocket could carry a satellite weighing up to 220 kg (485 lb.) to an altitude of 500 kilometers (310 miles), into low-earth orbit. But, if launched as a missile, it has a range of 5000 kilometers, which is far enough to hit the UK.
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“For the first time in the country’s space field, the first research launch of the hybrid Zuljanah satellite carrier was conducted with the aim of below-orbit testing through achieving the technology for the most powerful solid fuel engine in the country,” Hosseini said.
Long-range ballistic missile technology being used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch nuclear warheads, according to US military officials, who remain determined to stop Iran from further developing its nuclear technology for military use.
Tehran maintains its satellite program and nuclear technology are both being used for peaceful means.
Iran also maintains its ballistic missile program is nobody’s business but its own; last month during a military drill the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched ballistic missiles against a simulated target in the Indian Ocean some 1,800 kilometers (1,125 miles) away, Sepahnews reported.
Iran already has a long-range missile that can reach up to 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) away — a long enough range to reach US military bases in the region, and far enough to reach the State of Israel.