Mon. Dec 4th, 2023
Iran Launches Noor-3 Satellite into Orbit

Iran’s Communication Minister, Isa Zarepour, has announced that the Noor-3 satellite has been successfully placed in orbit 280 miles above the Earth’s surface. The launch was carried out by the aerospace division of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.
Although the exact location of the launch was not disclosed, video footage released by authorities matches a Guard base near Shahroud, located 205 miles northeast of the capital, Tehran. This base is in Semnan province, which is home to the Imam Khomeini Spaceport that operates Iran’s civilian space program.
It is important to note that the Revolutionary Guard operates its own space program and military infrastructure, separate from Iran’s regular armed forces. This program is under the direct authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran successfully launched its first satellite into space in April 2020.
The United States has raised concerns over Iran’s satellite launches, claiming that they violate a UN Security Council resolution. Additionally, the US has urged Iran to refrain from any activities related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The US intelligence community’s 2022 threat assessment suggests that the development of satellite launch vehicles could potentially expedite Iran’s ability to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Iran maintains that its space program, like its nuclear activities, is purely for civilian purposes, and denies any intentions to acquire nuclear weapons. US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have verified that Iran terminated its organized military nuclear program in 2003.
While Iran has experienced previous successes in launching satellites and even sending a monkey into space, recent attempts, such as the Simorgh program, have faced difficulties with five consecutive failed launches. In 2019, a fire at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport resulted in the death of three researchers, and a rocket explosion on a launchpad drew attention from former US president Donald Trump.
Tensions between Iran and Western nations are already heightened due to Iran’s advancing nuclear program and the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement five years ago. Efforts to revive the agreement have stalled, with Iran stating that the US must first ease sanctions before any progress can be made. The IAEA has reported that Iran currently possesses enough enriched uranium to potentially build multiple nuclear weapons. Moreover, Iran is constructing an underground nuclear facility that could be impervious to US airstrikes.