Two satellite imagery companies have released photos that suggest Iran has attempted a second launch of a satellite after the failure of another blast in January.
The images released early on February 7 show a rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan Province on February 5. Images from the next day show the rocket was gone with what appears to be burn marks on its launch pad.
The images were released by by Colorado-based DigitalGlobe and San Francisco-based Planet.
It was not immediately known if the launch was successful. David Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said that since Iran has made no immediate announcement surrounding the launch, it was possible it was unsuccessful.
After a launch in January failed to put a satellite into orbit, Tehran had said it would launch a second satellite in the near future.
Tehran acknowledged the first failure, with Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi telling state TV that the rocket carrying the Payam (Message) satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of launch.
President Hassan Rohani said the satellites were intended to gather information on environmental change in Iran.
The United States on January 15 condemned the previous launch attempt, warning that Washington “will not stand for Iran’s blatant disregard for international norms.”
The United States alleged Iran’s satellite program uses technologies “that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles” in defiance of UN resolutions against any activity related to delivering nuclear weapons.
Iran insists the launches do not violate UN resolutions.