TEHRAN -- A spokesman for Iran’s defense ministry said Wednesday the Islamic Republic plans to carry out two more launches of its domestically-developed and hybrid-propellant satellite carrier called Zuljanah.
Ahmad Husseini told IRNA news agency that three research-oriented launches have been planned for the Zuljanah satellite carrier. While one has already taken place, two other launches are in the offing, he said.
“Zuljanah is a three-phase carrier, which runs on hybrid fuel and the performance of different stages is examined and evaluated during each research launch,” the official explained.
Following the incorporation of required technology and successful operation, the Zuljanah satellite carrier will be capable of putting “payloads weighing up to 220 kilograms into the orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers,” Husseini stressed.
Iran’s defense ministry launched the Zuljanah satellite carrier into space for the first time in February 2021, which was broadcast live on state TV.
Zuljanah is named after the horse of Imam Hussein (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Peace upon Him). The satellite carrier is 25.5 meters in length, and weighs about 52 tons. It utilizes a 1.5-meter diameter solid fuel engine with 74 tons of thrust.
Earlier this year, the commander of the aerospace division of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said the country has mastered the technology of satellite carriers and tested its first such carrier using solid fuel.
“From now on, Iran will be able to launch a great number of satellites using low-cost engines,” Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh told a gathering of religious scholars in the Iranian city of Qom on January 13.
Elaborating on the test on an Iranian satellite carrier engine operating on solid fuel, Hajizadeh said the test was “successfully carried out for the first time” in the country.
“During the past two years, all Iranian satellite carriers, which were tested, operated on liquid fuel. But in this test, we succeeded to use solid-fuel engine with a 66-tonne thrust,” the Iranian commander said.
In late December 2020, Iran’s defense ministry announced that it had successfully launched a domestically-built satellite carrier rocket named Simorgh (Phoenix), sending three research devices into space.
“In this space research mission, for the first time, three research devices were launched simultaneously at an altitude of 470 kilometers and at a speed of 7,350 meters per second,” Husseini said at the time.
Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in April 2020 successfully launched a satellite into orbit. The force launched another satellite this March at another site in Semnan province, just east of the Iranian capital of Tehran.