Featured image credit: Fars Media Corporation
Lift Off Time
|March 08, 2022 – 05:06 UTC | 08:36 IRST|
|Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force (IRGC)|
|Shahrud Desert, Iran|
|Unknown, but no more than 50 kg|
Where did the satellite go?
|Low Earth Orbit, 495 x 513 km, 58.3° inclination|
Did they attempt to recover the first stage?
|No. This is not a capability of Qased|
Where did the first stage land?
|It crashed into the Arabian Sea|
Did they attempt to recover the fairings?
|No. This is not a capability of Qased|
Were these fairings new?
This was the:
|– 2nd launch of a Qased rocket|
– 25th orbital launch attempt for 2022 (24th successful)
Where to watch
How Did It Go?
Iran has successfully launched the Noor-2 satellite into Low Earth Orbit. This is the first successful launch from Iran since Noor-1 in 2020.
What Is The Noor-2 Satellite?
Noor-2 is a reconnaissance satellite, built to a 6U CubeSat form factor. CubeSats are sized around a unit of volume that is 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm.
Noor-2 joins Noor-1 in orbit. Noor-1 was launched in 2020 with an expected lifespan of only one year, however, it is still operating at the time of Noor-2’s launch. The satellites feature imaging sensors, designed to study Iran’s own land as well as international territories.
What Is The Qased Rocket?
Qased (meaning “messenger”) is the latest orbital launch rocket from Iran, following on from the Safir rocket. Qased is based on the Shahab-3 missile produced by North Korea. It is a three stage rocket.
The Shahab-3 missile is based in turn on the R-17 missile produced by the USSR. It is one of a familiy of missiles collectively known as SS-1 and/or Scud.
Qased First Stage
The first stage is liquid-fueled. It uses Unsymmetrical Di-Methyl Hydrazine (UDMH) as fuel and N2O4 as the oxidizer. This stage is based on a Ghadr medium-range ballistic missile. It has a diameter of 1.25 m (~ 4 ft). The motor burns for 103 seconds.
Qased Second Stage
This is based on the Salman solid rocket motor. It has a diameter of 1 m (~3 ft). The solid motor has thrust vectoring capability. It burns for 60 seconds.
Qased Third Stage
The third stage is a Saman-1 (not to be confused with Salman on the second stage). This uses solid fuel and has an Arash-24 motor. It has a burn time of 40 seconds.
This stage is placed, together with the payload, into a parking orbit by the second stage. The Saman-1 then operates to stabilise any remaining vibrations or stabilisation of the payload, as well as acting as a kick stage to raise the payload’s orbit.
Iran’s Space Program
Iran has had its own space Agency for several years. Iran was one of the 24 original founding members of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 1958.
The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) was formed in 2004. The ISA is mandated to be entirely peaceful. Iran first successfully launched to orbit in 2009.
Safir Small-Lift Launch Vehicle
Safir (meaning “ambasador”) is an Iranian launch vehicle that is derived from the Kavoshgar-1, a sounding rocket. This vehicle was 22 m tall, with a 1.25 m diameter. It was a two stage vehicle.
Stage 1 was liquid-fueled, using UDMH for fuel and N2O4 as oxidizer. It produced 37 tons of thrust. Stage 2 was also liquid-fueled, using the same propellants as the first stage. It produced 3.5 tons of thrust. With these two stages in combination, the Safir rocket was able to place up to 50 kg into LEO.
It flew a total of eight times, placing four satellites into orbit (one on each successful flight).
Simorgh Small-Lift Launch Vehicle
Simorgh (meaning “Phoenix”), also known as Safir-2, is an Iranian-developed launch vehicle designed to loft more massive payloads into orbit than Safir could achieve.
It is a three-stage rocket, with a total length of 26.5 m and a base diameter of 2.4 m. It is derived from the Safir rocket. Stage 1 is liquid-fueled, using the same UDMH and N2O4 as on the Safir first stage. The second stage is also liquid-fueled, using the same propellants as the first stage. Stage 3 is the Saman-1 stage, the same as on the Qased rocket.
Its first flight was on April 19, 2016. It has had a total of five orbital, and one sub-orbital, launch attempts, at time of writing. All of these failed to meet their objectives.
IRGC Aerospace Force
Alongside the ISA, the IRGC Air Force has existed from many years. Iran renamed this organisation as the IRGC Aerospace Force in 2009. This indicated that the IRGC was planning to venture into orbital launch territory.
The IRGC Aerospace Force announced that it had its own “Space Command” on April 22, 2020. This was the same date on which it launched Iran’s first military satellite, the Noor-1.