Iran's research rocket successfully transmits data

 
Iran's recently launched research rocket has successfully transmitted scientific data back to the country, state television reported Sunday.

The rocket transmitted the information after reaching an orbit of 200-250 kilometers (125-155 miles) above the earth, state TV quoted Mehran Mirshams, an Iranian space official, as saying.

The launch earlier this month provoked unease abroad because the same technology used to construct rockets can also be used to deliver warheads. Iran insists its space program is peaceful and is working toward the launch of the country's first domestically built satellite this summer.

"Iran will launch its first satellite into a 650-kilometer (400-mile) orbit in June," Mirshams was quoted as saying. He said the satellite would pass over Iran five or six times in 24 hours.

Tehran unveiled the first Iranian-made satellite, called Omid, or Hope, and inaugurated its first space center earlier this month when it launched the research rocket.

Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation and improve telecommunications. Iranian officials also point to America's use of satellites to monitor Afghanistan and Iraq and say they need similar abilities for their security.

In 2005, the government said it had allocated $500 million for space projects in the next five years. Also in 2005, Iran launched its first commercial satellite, Sina-1, from a Russian rocket in a joint project with Moscow, which appears to be the main partner in transferring space technology to Iran.

Iran hopes to launch four more satellites by 2010, the government has said, to increase the number of land and mobile telephone lines to 80 million from 22 million. It also hopes to expand its satellite capabilities to increase Internet users to 35 million from 5.5 million. (AP)
 
 
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