December 10, 2023

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US acknowledges successful Iran satellite launch amid tensions

The U.S. on Friday reportedly acknowledged a satellite launch by Iran amid tensions between the two countries.

Iran had claimed Wednesday that its Revolutionary Guard successfully launched the Noor-3 satellite. The imaging satellite’s launch was similar to others the U.S. has said is helping the country’s ballistic missile program.

On Friday, data from the website, which gets its information from the 18th Space Defense Squadron of the U.S. Space Force, acknowledged the launch putting the satellite in orbit, according to The Associated Press. The outlet noted the U.S. military has otherwise not commented on the launch.

Revolutionary Guard space commander Gen. Ali Jafarabadi said Thursday on Iranian state television that the satellite has “image accuracy that is two and a half times that of the Noor-2 satellite,” the AP reported.

The Noor-2 launched in March 2022 and is still in orbit, while the Noor-1 satellite, which launched in 2020, fell from orbit last year.

Jafarabadi said his country’s aspirations for its satellite program could include controlling drones, according to the AP.

“If you look at the recent wars in the world, you will see that success on the battlefield is very dependent on the use of satellite technologies,” he said on state TV. “Now the armed forces in all the progressive countries are trying to make all their equipment remote control, it means that to make it steerable, when a vessel or any other equipment takes a long distance from us, it is no longer possible to see and guide it, except through satellite.”

The Associated Press contributed reporting. 

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