The government of Iran has reportedly launched a space tug that can move satellites between orbits, according to Iranian state media on Tuesday.
According to state television, the country’s Space Research Center created the Saman test spacecraft, which the Defense Ministry launched on Monday.
The head of the Islamic Republic’s space agency, Hassan Salarieh, stated on state television that the organization “hopes to use and test the main tug in the near future.” The craft was unveiled in Iran in 2017. A satellite can be moved from one orbit to another using a space tug.
Long pursuing its space program, Iran claims it is for benign purposes. The US is concerned that the nation’s military and civilian space programs could be utilized to improve its ballistic missile program.
Tehran had successfully launched a solid-fuel rocket into orbit in June, and an Iranian satellite named Khayyam was safely launched into orbit by a Russian rocket in August. It has the name of the Persian scientist Omar Khayyam, who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries.
However, Iran has experienced numerous accidents and unsuccessful satellite launches in recent years.
In April 2020, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard successfully launched a satellite into orbit, exposing its own covert space program. The Guard has a separate military establishment in addition to Iran’s regular armed forces.