Iran says its space probe sending data to earth

Iran on Sunday said a probe it sent into space on the back of rocket was sending data back to earth from an altitude of up to 250 kilometres (155 miles).

Iran says its space probe sending data to earth
Kavoshgar (Explorer) was launched earlier this month on what Iran touted as its first rocket to be sent into space on a mission to prepare for the launch of its first home-produced Iranian satellite later this year.

'Kavoshgar has reached an altitude of 200 to 250 kilometres (125-155 miles),' Mohsen Mir Shams, the deputy head of Iran's space organisation, told the government newspaper Iran.

'Since its launch Kavoshgar has been sending real time data back to base which we are analysing to see if its systems are working perfectly or not,' he added.

He said the satellite, which Iranian officials have predicted will be launched this summer, will be put into orbit at a 'altitude of 650 kilometres (400 miles) above the earth and can pass over Iran six times every 24 hours.'

The Kavoshgar probe would be returning to earth, he added, without giving further details.

The United States condemned the rocket launch as unfortunate.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also said Moscow 'does not approve of Iran's permanent demonstration of its intentions to develop its rocket sector.'

But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lauded the launch as a national success and said Iran would launch two more rockets before the satellite is sent into space.

Iran has pursued a space programme for several years, and in October 2005 a Russian-made Iranian satellite named Sina-1 was put into orbit by a Russian rocket.

In a separate development, Iran on Sunday said it had successfully tested an 'upgraded' version of its Russian-made surface-to-air S-200 missile defence system.

'This missile system has been upgraded and optimised by Iranian specialists,' the state-run IRNA agency said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Şubat 2008, 12:36