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The Safir (Meaning Messenger or Ambassador in Arabic and adopted by Persian) is the name of the first Iranian expendable launch vehicle that is able to place a satellite in orbit. The first successful orbital launch using the Safir launch system took place February 2, 2009 when a Safir 2 carrier rocket placed the Omid satellite into an orbit with a 258.0 km (160.3 mi) apogee.

A sub-orbital test flight, named Kavoshgar-1, was conducted on February 4, 2008, as announced by state-run television. A launch on February 25, 2007, may also have been of the same type. The first flights carried instruments to measure the higher atmosphere. The rocket launched on February 4, 2008 was a liquid-propellant-driven rocket, probably a derivative of the Shahab-3, that reached an altitude of 200-250 km in space, and successfully returned science data according to the Iranian News Agency.

On February 19, 2008, Iran offered new information about the rocket and announced that Kavoshgar-1 used a two staged rocket. The first stage separated after 100 seconds and returned to earth with the help of a parachute. The second stage continued its ascent to the altitude of 200 kilometres. However it was not intended to reach orbital velocity.

Earlier reports by the Iranian News Agency suggested that Kavoshgar-1 used a three staged rocket with the first stage separating after 90 seconds and the rocket reaching an orbit between 200 and 250 kilometres.

The successful development and launch of a sounding-space-rocket was already announced a year earlier, on February 25, 2007. It is unknown if the sounding rocket launched on February 25, 2007, and the rocket launched on February 4, 2008, are of the same type.

Iran announced plans to send two more rockets into space during 2008 and four more satellites until 2010.

On 17 August 2008, Iranian officials reported that a Safir was launched successfully without a payload, in preparation for the launch of Iran's first indigenously launched satellite, Omid. Reza Taghizadeh, head of the Iranian Aerospace Organization, told state television "The Safir (Ambassador) satellite carrier was launched today and for the first time we successfully launched a dummy satellite into orbit". As it was announced by Iran, a dummy satellite was put into a 650 km LEO passing over Iran six times every 24 hours.

Alleged failure
According to an American official, "The vehicle failed shortly after liftoff and in no way reached its intended position." Video of the liftoff of the rocket was shown on Iranian state television. Iranian officials released a statement denouncing the allegations as propaganda and stated the Iran would soon launch the Omid satellite. Iran indeed launched Omid satellite on Feb. 2nd 2009, less than six months later.

On 2 February 2009, a Safir rocket conducted Iran's first orbital launch, with the Omid satellite. The two-staged launch vehicle named SAFIR-2 was 22m long with a diameter of 1.25m, weighing about 26 tonnes. The 27 kg Omid satellite was launched into an orbit with a 250 km perigee and 500 km apogee. The evidence is mounting that Safir-2 was more powerful and advanced than initially thought.

Safir-2 Block-II
Iran has begun the development of the planned Block-II Safir booster intended to double its payload capacity with the intent to make it operational by some time in 2010. The launch vehicle is to acquire its increased payload capacity into low earth orbit through the addition of two Samen, solid motor strap-on boosters added to the Shahab-3C derived first stage and possible a new solid motor third stage added to the existing two stage Safir space booster.

The announcement of the development start on this booster was made on April 14, 2009 by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This booster is capable of placing satellite in 700 kilometre (440 mile) orbits or doubling its payload capacity.Iran is known to be combining these liquid propellant and solid motor technologies to the development of a more capable Safir block-II class space booster expected in 2010 with over twice the capability of the present Safir space booster. It will utilising two Ghadr-101/Samen strap-on boosters with the first stage with a Safir second stage and potential third stage with in its bulbous payload shroud giving it a 50-200-250 kilogram payload capacity.

The Iranian successful development of the Ghadr-101 single stage missile with the Ghadr-101/Samen, Ghadr-110, 110A /Sejjil/Ashura solid propellant two and three stage missiles also indicated a second trend in Iranian developments that will lead to larger more capacity space boosters and potential ballistic missiles.Iran is known to be working on a new nearly all solid propellant boosters with a payload capacity of 330 kilograms to low earth orbit.

Source From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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