Jeffrey LewisIranian Satellite Launch

Iran claims it placed a satellite, Omid, in orbit. I’ve uploaded a video from Fars.

Mehr and ISNA have photos of the launch.

More to come. Where’s Forden?

Update: Thanks to my fantastic readers (including Brian Weeden, see the comments), we can confirm something is up there. Space Track lists two new objects in orbit with a 56 degree inclination: 2009-004A and 2009-004B (catalog numbers 33506 and 33507, respectively). This doesn’t really look like a photoshop job to me.

Later Update: Jonathan McDowell has a brief description of the data in his draft Space Report for next week:


The first Iranian satellite was launched into orbit on Feb 2 at around
1835 UTC +/- 10 min on a southeastern trajectory from an unidentified launch site in Iran. Two objects are in orbits of 245 × 378 km x 55.51 deg and 245 × 439 × 55.6 deg; one is presumably the Omid payload and the other the Safir rocket final stage, but it’s not clear yet which is which. The first object’s orbit is close to the announced plan of a 250-350 km altitude. The Iranian Students News Agency calls the launch vehicle Safir-2; it’s not clear if this is represents a different vehicle type from Safir-1, or just a serial number. Pictures of the launch show “Safir – Omid (2) IRILV” painted on the side of the rocket.

The satellite may have a mass of 25 kg. Any Farsi speakers who can translate the Iranian news reports should get in touch with me.

Farsi speakers, please do drop Jonathan a note at: jcm [at]

Even Later Update: Here is Jill’s take on the politics of the launch.


  1. Brian W (History)

    Space Track has published two objects, 2009-004A and 2009-004B (catalog numbers 33506 and 33507, respectively) tagged from this launch. The objects are in about a 250 × 400 km orbit at 55.5 deg inclination.

    So it seems that the US military confirms that the launch was successful.

  2. FSB

    Yes, the launch looks like it went of well this time. The US catalog of space objects has 2 new LEO entries at inclination of about 56d.

    Great work by the Iranians — looks like the sanctions helped them develop an indigenous capability. Good going!

  3. David Wright (History)

    Here are some rough nubmers (which I expect Geoff will improve on) based on my analysis of the North Korean TD-1 launch in 1998, and assuming that the Safir is similiar in capability to the TD-1. This seems like a reasonable assumption from the parameters of the missile.

    The orbit given for the objects requires a speed of about 7.7 km/s. My estimate is that the first two stages could have achieved a speed of about 3.5 km/s (this is based on an analysis of splash-down locations of the first two stages from the 1998 NK launch). That means the third stage would have had to give a delta-V of about 4.2 km/s. Assuming the satellite is very low mass (about 20 kg), that appears to be achievable with small solid stages that may be commercially available.

    If this missile attempted to launch a significantly larger mass, the range would be much less. My estimate is that the range would drop to about 2500 km for a 1000 kg payload, which may be what a nuclear warhead would weigh, or about 4000 km for a 500 kg payload.

  4. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    I think this is an image of the Omid satellite, from an earlier visit by Ahmadinejad. Thoughts?

  5. Major Lemon (History)

    As for the ‘all for the cause of space exploration’ guys here, remember that greatly misunderstood invention the V2?

  6. roger smith (History)

    you can track Omid sat Live!

  7. Mehdi

    A new photo of Safir’s second stage: