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Iran's New Space Program 243

eldavojohn writes "Coinciding with the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Iran opened a center to receive satellite images built 'entirely by Iranian engineers.' Iran promised that by the end of their year (March of 2011) they would launch two observational satellites: Fajr (Dawn) and Rasad-1 (Observation-1). You might recall two years ago when they launched Omid, which completed about 700 orbits in two weeks. There are reports that new launch rockets will be revealed in February to launch the new satellites — all equipment is claimed to be entirely Iranian made. Iranian media is reporting that one of the satellites 'carries remote measuring equipment that would be used in meteorology and identifying sea borders.' The Iranian Student News Agency says Explorer 4 (Kavoshgar 4) is meant to transport humans and other living organisms into space, and that the sensory on the satellites 'is able to find gas and oil resources, identify coal mines, jungles and agricultural products as well as salty-marsh and contaminated environments.' These rapid fire achievements are not the only bragging Iran has done as of late; they also claim 'new gamma radiation units for medical treatments and a supercomputer billed as among the top 500 most powerful in the world. But, fact or fiction aside, the satellites have old enemies speculating."
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Iran's New Space Program

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  • by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:12PM (#35129658)
    But I guess what Stuxnet is for.
    • Having a working ICBM would be a great way to prevent your country from being "liberated", or at least your oil from being liberated. Provided the ICBMs don't do a boomerang.
  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:17PM (#35129704) Journal

    Somehow, I had a mental image of a bunch of engineers trying to erect a building. None survived.

    • You've got the joke wrong.

      "A building built by an architect might fall down, but a building built by an engineer should be torn down."

      Just who do you think designs and supervises the construction of buildings?

      • Who actually constructs the buildings?

      • Just who do you think designs and supervises the construction of buildings?

        Usually, a Structural Engineer of Record who stamps, signs, and vouches for the building. The SER is then liable for problems with the building for up to six years after their death. Special insurance is available for those claims.

        SER certification requires formal training (e.g. B.Eng.) specialized post-graduate training, experience, and registration explicitly as a SER with multiple peer reviews. They often specialize in areas such as a building envelopes.

  • by rednip ( 186217 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:18PM (#35129708) Journal
    I've never understood why the Russian leadership seems willing to arm it's most crazy neighbor to the south. It's not like they don't already have an islamist problem.
    • by Aaron England ( 681534 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:27PM (#35129778)
      Because instability in the Middle East raises oil prices and as of 2009 Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil exporter.
    • I believe that recent military and defense transactions with "their most crazy neighbor to the south" has little to do with logic and more to do with lucrative arms deals [] that have recently been put on hold (I daresay in the interest of regional stability).

      To answer your question in a historical context I might point you to the horrible things that Russia and the United States did during the Cold War that essentially provided puppet theaters for their ideologies to be fought out. Why risk your citizens when you can show the world who's right with war and poverty in weaker nations? Wikipedia does a decent job of summing this up [] but you might look up the 1953 Iranian coup d'état followed by the 1979 Iranian revolution and surmise why it would be in Russia's best interest to keep this thorn festering in the United States' side right up until today. The Soviet War in Afghanistan, the Eastern Bloc and many other actions were basically a cowardly way of Russia and the United States putting external countries in chaos to prove who was the better country in our petty capitalism versus socialism spat (and after all that everybody's implementing a little bit of both).

      Similar to the redrawing of national/political boundaries by the Allies following World War II, we (and I mean the world, US/Russian citizens, the citizens of those countries, everybody) will for a very long time feel the pain and suffering of putting such pressures on weaker nations during the Cold War.

      When you say "it's most crazy neighbor to the south," it might benefit you to consider the pressures that added to that craziness. While the blame lies entirely on no one, everybody participated. For a somewhat more even handed introduction to Iran's problems, check out the intro to Persepolis (the movie or the manga).

      You know who's really lost a lot in all of this? The Iranian citizens.
    • by Smauler ( 915644 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:49PM (#35130018)

      Iran is not crazy. I'm not sure where you got that idea from. The government is pretty hard line in some instances, but the populace isn't generally. In my opinion crazy is starting wars.

      • "Iran is not crazy."

        A piece of Geography rarely is.

      • by Eivind ( 15695 )

        So, you're the opinion that USA is crazy, then ?

        Just asking.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Hubris, perhaps?

      The Russians believe their strategy "worked" in Chechnya -- bomb the cities to the stone age, kill anyone who doesn't cooperate, and arm a local force whose existence depends on you and their willingness to do whatever it takes to suppress dissent.

      My sense is they think they could probably crush any kind of Iranian aggression just as easily.

      • Mission accomplished much?

        Central America, Korea, Afghanistan (I mean the previous conflict where the US armed the taliban), Iraq (I mean the previous Iraq where the US armed Saddam)

        Pot vs. kettle much?

    • Russia has a problem with radical Sunni (Salafi / Wahhabi) insurgency. Iran is not a threat there, because those folks hate Iran (which is Shiite) just as much if not more. Aside from that, there isn't anything for two countries to fight over, and they can back each other (and China) in UN versus US and its Western allies.

    • These satellite launch photos just in from Iran's space agency: []
  • Iran can always do what the Soviets did and make a clone of the US space shuttle. []

    • That is like arguing that every Airbus is a ripoff of a Boeing. Despite the resemblance, the technology is fundamentally different in function and design.
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:41PM (#35129920)

      Yeah, those Soviets never did anything first in the space race.

      • by blair1q ( 305137 )

        What they did first is what the Iranians are finally doing, and it's causing the same reactions in the same reactionaries that the Russian version did.

        I think it's the reactionaries who aren't progressing.

      • No mod points to give you, sorry, but to acknowledge your well place sarcasm:,_1957-1969#Notable_firsts []

        1957: First intercontinental ballistic missile, the R-7 Semyorka
        1957: First satellite, Sputnik 1
        1957: First animal to enter Earth orbit, the dog Laika on Sputnik 2
        1959: First firing of a rocket in Earth orbit, first man-made object to escape Earth's orbit, Luna 1
        1959: First data communications, or telemetry, to and from outer space, Luna 1.
        1959: First man-made object to pass near the Moon, first man-made object in Solar orbit, Luna 1
        1959: First probe to impact the Moon, Luna 2
        1959: First images of the moon's far side, Luna 3
        1960: First animals to safely return from Earth orbit, the dogs Belka and Strelka on Sputnik 5.
        1960: First probe launched to Mars, Marsnik 1
        1961: First probe launched to Venus, Venera 1
        1961: First person in space (International definition) and in Earth orbit, Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1, Vostok programme
        1961: First person to spend over a day in space Gherman Titov, Vostok 2 (also first person to sleep in space).
        1962: First dual manned spaceflight, Vostok 3 and Vostok 4
        1963: First woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, Vostok 6
        1964: First multi-man crew (3), Voskhod 1
        1965: First EVA, by Aleksei Leonov, Voskhod 2
        1965: First probe to hit another planet (Venus), Venera 3
        1966: First probe to make a soft landing on and transmit from the surface of the moon, Luna 9
        1966: First probe in lunar orbit, Luna 10
        1967: First unmanned rendezvous and docking, Cosmos 186/Cosmos 188. (Until 2006, this had remained the only major space achievement that the US had not duplicated.)
        1969: First docking between two manned craft in Earth orbit and exchange of crews, Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5

    • by Animats ( 122034 )

      Buran is not a clone of the US space shuttle. It looks similar, but it's not. Buran is launched on a huge booster; it has no main engines of its own, unlike the US Shuttle. It's more rugged than the Shuttle, which can't handle rain or cold weather. In many ways, it's a better design. T

      • Great blog article here [] about Buran. What might have been. Just goes to show that it's good to see the Russians still active in space exploration and how their different approach gets results. They've been kicking ass since Day 1.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:30PM (#35129802) Homepage
    in order to iran, the islamic nation with an apparently insatiable appetite for science! I hope the pictures and data from the satellites are released publicly as well as perhaps their beacon frequencies? (to listen in on them as they traverse the skies, i know, im an amateur radio geek.)

    the medical equipment is fascinating too...are they based on any current designs? do they take advantage of any FLOSS?

    and being a tech nerd I cant wait to get specs on the new supercomputer too...are they soliciting any CPU time for college projects? what is its ultimate goal/architecture/performance metrics?

    and if you're wondering when politics plays into all of this, it doesnt. I dont care what the russians are doing, what the mullas are barking, or what the israelis are doing because this is nerd news.
    • While the religious fanatical state in the middle east is working hard to advance science, "heart land" of america is working hard to denounce science.

  • Every time I read a story about technological advancement in some [non friendly to the US] nation it's always portrayed in the light of "Oh crap, dirty brown people are getting their hands on technology OMFG THEY'RE GONNA NUKE US"

    What's up with that? What possible use could a stable, financially self-sufficient nation have for nuking a much larger nation (who has a lot more nukes)? I know people like to portray them as crazies and always extract the most radical-when-translated-and-taken-out-of-context q
    • Re:Why all the hate? (Score:5, Informative)

      by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:41PM (#35129916) Journal

      Stable? At the last election, government forces killed some 36 people demonstrating against vote fraud.

      That's not the mark of a stable government; that's a mark of a totalitarian regime that will kill to stay in power.

      That's why it's bad when they get nukes.

      I for one believe that trade is the best binder; sooner or later we won't be able to go to war against China because we simply won't have the industrial base to support ourselves (and I'm not talking weapons but shoes. How long would a US president last if the voters couldn't buy shoes? )

      Let's bind Iran in a web of trade so they can't go to war with us. The problem is that we really don't have anything they want....

      • by Smauler ( 915644 )

        The US installed regimes (ousting democracies) that killed thousands when in power. Just because a regime is corrupt and brutal doesn't mean that the west does not consider it stable. It's up to you to decide the morality of that, but your point that the Iranian government killed 36 people pales into insignificance compared to the brutality the west's allies have meted out in the past (and most of the west itself for that matter).

    • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:48PM (#35129998) Homepage

      I know people like to portray them as crazies and always extract the most radical-when-translated-and-taken-out-of-context quotes about how these countries/groups of people want nothing more than to wipe Israel and the US off the map, but I find it hard to believe that the leaders of such countries have any serious plans to this effect. I'm sure it drums up some good publicity in certain mainly arab nations, but every politician likes to talk big, few like to ask a country to pay for a dangerous and expensive war with a nearby nation.

      Iran has been bankrolling Hezbollah for years and years now. I agree that starting a nuclear war isn't very likely, but the Iranian regime has gone beyond mere rhetoric into driving violence.

      • How many terrorist or destabilising forces has the US bankrolled? Just asking. Hypocrisy ain't pretty you know....
      • The US has been bankrolling Israel for years and years now.

        How is this different?

        • Did I say it was? The OP claimed that Iran has never gone from musing about violence to directly supporting violence. I corrected him. The shady foreign police acts of the US have nothing to do with it.
    • I don't think there's any worry that Iran will nuke the United States. That would just be completely stupid on their part.

      The worry is that some of their nuclear technology might fall into the hands of some extremist group that would have no qualms about setting off a nuke in the middle of a city just to send a message. When someone blows themselves up using a regular bomb there's enough debris left over to have a good idea of who might have done it. Even a small nuclear device would cause enough destruc
      • I don't think there's any worry that Iran will nuke the United States. That would just be completely stupid on their part.

        I fear Iran more than I ever did the Russians because I never believed the Russians were crazy or suicidal. I have no such assurance in the case of Iran or N Korea. We've had lots and lots of evidence pointing to the fact that Islamist extremists can be quite suicidal for the right cause. The Mutually Assured Destruction model of deterrence (which has actually worked quite well so far) doesn't really work when one of the parties is willing to entertain the notion of certain death in exchange for the assu

        • Islamist(sic) extremists can be quite suicidal for the right cause

          The Iranian government are not Islamic extremists any more than the US government are Christian extremists. You have more to fear from former soviet states because they have nuclear material dotted around the place with little security. If I wanted to make a dirty bomb I'd be looking around there. Iran is most certainly not crazy and has some very advanced science and technology.

    • by tgd ( 2822 )

      Well, we developed all of those technologies for the purposes of nuking someone ... so, its not unreasonable, if somewhat irrational, to expect we'd believe the same of someone else doing it.

      Not sure we've got the moral high ground to point fingers, though.

    • Maybe I think we should nuke them first because Ahmadinejad (you know, the Iranian "President" - well if you don't count those pesky votes..) believes that it is his duty to trigger a period of chaos, war and bloodshed, which will lead to the coming of the 12th Imam who will eventually rule the world.

      Citation [].

      Seriously, Iran is fucked in the head when it comes to thinking. I don't want their kind of thinking having access to nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
      • If you were truly informed on the Iranian situation you'd know that Ahmadinejad, though holding the title of president, is not the supreme ruler of Iran. He must answer to other people, and he does not have control over the military. While he's probably a nutjob, he can't singlehandedly plunge Iran into a war against the wishes of others.
        • He's a nutjob and I think the world would be a safer place if Iran did not pursue "peaceful" nuclear energy and ballistic missiles at the same time. Call me rational when I think that is wise.
        • Right. Thank God (or would that be Allah?) we have the level head of Ayatollah Khamenei in charge.
      • Citing an Israeli propaganda site detracts from your argument.
    • "Hate" is good politics. No politician, in a democracy, or a dictatorship, or anything in between, ever kept his job by calling his population a bunch of lazy dumb-asses, who are responsible for their own dire status. Pin the blame on some folks out of the country, or a minority group in the country too small to defend themselves.

      Embezzle, and stash the cash away in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. Make sure to flee the country to your Villa on the Cote D'Azur before the shit hits the

    • Oh crap, dirty brown people are getting their hands on technology

      Nice race-baiting straw man, there. People worrying about the Iranians and high-end weapons-related tech don't give a crap what color anybody is. It's the cultural world-view of the mysoginistic, retrograde theocratic thugocracy running the country, their vocal and overt support for terrorism, and their stated objective of wiping a country off the map. Who cares about skin pigment? It's what people do that matters. Like jailing and killing political opponents who don't want to be subject the Iranian leader

    • Every time I read a story about technological advancement in some [non friendly to the US] nation it's always portrayed in the light of "Oh crap, dirty brown people are getting their hands on technology OMFG THEY'RE GONNA NUKE US"

      It's nearly as bad when it's a friendly nation. Hence the billion redundant unfunny jokes about curry/unintelligible tech support/Kwik E Mart/funny accents if it's a story about a technical development in India. Then there's always the standard "they shouldn't be doing that, they should be spending that money on social programs to get running water to their poor first" idiotic comments. Funny how nobody ever insists on NASA being wound up until poverty in the US is eliminated and the last homeless American

  • practice!

    (I kid, I kid. Just don't tell Sarah Palin.)

  • by jameskojiro ( 705701 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:40PM (#35129896) Journal

    All Made in Iran.....


    To Paraphrase the first Iranian Astronaut after his retro rockets failed to fire trapping him in orbit for a few extra hours....

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The first Iranian astronaut was Anousheh Ansari, a female

    • So this is what the mighty have come down to. When faced with competitors who are rapidly catching up, Americans choose to pooh-pooh them as copycats and inferior derivatives, all the while dumbing down your own science education and breeding your own ultra nationalists and religious nut jobs. You, see, it doesn't matter how Iran, or China or India got their technology. The fact that they have them, and more importantly, continuing to develop them, is enough. So, go ahead and sit on your laurel. Better yet,
  • so they're looking towards space. if you think their reactor is going to be a big hit when the rooted controls stop working, just wait until their space bombs get called by the botnet.

    • "so they're looking towards space."

      That's good.
      There's nothing able to fund NASA quicker than the US Religious nuts thinking the Iranians would make Mars a Muslim planet and build a mosque there.

  • This story sounds strangely deja vu like.

    What other militant country with a nutjob leader which has openly swore to wipe another off a map was trying to advance "satellite putting up in orbity" technology and at the same time trying to start a nuclear program (but only to generate power) which is their god given right to do so...

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    I would say they are playing with fire, but that would be too obvious not to mention literal.

    • "a nutjob leader which has openly swore to wipe another off a map"

      You do realise that was simply false dont you, A mistranslation of what was said.

      Never let the facts get in the way of a biased rant eh?

  • You might recall two years ago when they launched Omid, which completed about 700 orbits in two weeks.

    Hmm, seems to me that 700 orbits in two weeks is about one orbit every thirty minutes.

    It's been a long time since I was in school, but last I checked a 30 minute orbit around Earth is impossible.

    Well, without a continuous 7G burn to keep the satellite from flying off out of the solar system - speed required to do a 30 minute orbit is about 60% more than solar escape speed.

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