Iran Successfully Launches Three Low Earth Orbit Satellites

Iran successfully launched three satellites into low Earth orbit using a rocket that had previously failed multiple times, according to Iranian officials. However, Western authorities have expressed concerns that this move enhances Tehran’s ballistic missile capabilities.

While Iran claims that the launch is part of its peaceful civilian space program, U.S. officials argue that it shortens the timeline for Iran to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile due to the similar technology used. The Simorgh rocket, which was used in this satellite launch, has been plagued by setbacks in recent years, including fatal fires and a launchpad explosion.

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom condemned a previous Iranian satellite launch with the Simorgh rocket, stating that it could assist Iran in developing long-range ballistic missiles. These countries have longstanding concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile technologies and its nuclear escalation.

The three recently launched satellites were named Mahda, Kayhan-2, and Hatef-1. Mahda is a research satellite, while Kayhan-2 and Hatef-1 are nanosatellites focused on global positioning and communication. It is expected that these satellites will be placed in low Earth orbit.

Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry has reported that the Mahda satellite has already sent signals back to Earth. The launch comes amidst ongoing tensions in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Hamas. Iran’s support for Houthi rebels and its rocket program further contribute to the regional discontent.

Houthi militants have been targeting ships in the Red Sea, aiming to disrupt the regional commercial shipping industry. While Iran has not directly intervened in the Israel-Hamas conflict, it supports the Houthi rebels who have carried out numerous attacks on American-backed forces, military bases, and allies.

In a recent drone attack, three U.S. soldiers were killed and 25 others wounded. These casualties mark the first American deaths caused by firepower in the Israel-Hamas war. Additionally, three Navy SEALs have been declared dead after going missing over 10 days ago, making them the first overall American casualties of the conflict.

Footage of the Simorgh rocket launch showed it taking place at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province. State TV reporter Abbas Rasooli described the launch as the “roar of the Simorgh resonating in our country’s sky and infinite space.” The rocket was emblazoned with the phrase “We Can” in Farsi, symbolizing its success despite previous failures.