September 27, 2022

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Khayyam: The sky is the limit

TEHRAN — According to Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos, a Fregat booster delivered the Iranian Khayyam satellite launched from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan into orbit on Tuesday, marking a landmark moment in Iranian history.

“A Russian Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and a Fregat booster successfully delivered the Iranian Khayyam Earth’s remote sensing satellite into the designated orbit,” Roscosmos reported.

It was launched at 08:52 a.m. Moscow time.

The launch of the satellite marks a watershed moment in Russia-Iran collaboration, according to Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov.

“The successful launch of the satellite for and an order from Iran has become a landmark event in the Russia-Iran bilateral cooperation that paves the way for implementing new and more dimensional projects,” he said.

At around 12:00 noon, researchers and space industry experts were able to receive the first telemetry data of the satellite at the Mahdasht space station in Karaj, Iran. 

The satellite will help improve productivity in agriculture, survey water resources, manage natural disasters, confront deforestation and monitor border areas.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Russia intends to use the satellite “for months or longer” to aid its combat efforts in Ukraine, citing anonymous Western intelligence officials.

However, in their eagerness to push their own narratives, the Western media appears to have overlooked one crucial element. The Khayyam satellite’s control and operation station is in Iran, and all commands relating to its management and use are provided only by the Iranian experts, and its images are likewise received only by Iranian stations.

Furthermore, all commands and data sent to or received from the satellite are encrypted via a module built by Iran and installed in the satellite, with the key possessed solely by Iran. 

Because of the encryption, Russian engineers sent commands to the satellite through the Iranian command sending station even during the initial calibration and testing phase.

The Western media is attempting to undermine Iran’s successes in space industry and present an isolated and helpless Iran to the world. Regardless of the wrenches thrown at it, Iran remains on its path to prosperity.

Politically, the launch of the Khayyam satellite marks a milestone in Iran’s history. Despite comprehensive sanctions, Tehran has managed to navigate the dark hallways of the space industry and develop a promising future. It is also worth noting that Russia and Kazakhstan have had a very successful experience in cooperating with Iran in this area.

It is currently established that Iran can launch satellites weighing 50 kg into 500 km orbits; however, according to the comprehensive ten-year space plan, Iran should materialize the launch and orbit of satellites weighing 100 kg until March 2023, and it must be able to put satellites weighing 200 kg into 500 km orbits possibly by the end of March 2024.

Furthermore, according to plans, Tehran should be able to achieve the 500 km orbit for satellites weighing up to 500 kg by August 2025, which marks the end of the current administration.

In terms of the satellite manufacturing industry, Iran can now design and build remote sensing satellites with imaging accuracy of 5 to 10 meters and is on its way to designing and manufacturing satellites with imaging accuracy of one meter or lower.

It goes without saying that Iran will continue to expand its space programs despite the oppressive illegal sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the West.

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