Iran’s Simorgh rocket suffered its third consecutive launch failure Sunday, incurring the loss of the Zafar-1 satellite. Liftoff took place at around 19:15 Iran Standard Time (15:45 UTC). However, the mission’s failure means that Iran is still waiting for its first successful orbital launch in five years.
The Zafar-1 satellite which was lost in Sunday’s launch failure was one of a pair of spacecraft Iran had developed for dual-purpose communication and remote sensing mission. The launch appears to have proceeded nominally through its early stages, with an unspecified anomaly likely occurring during second or third-stage flight. No Iranian satellite has reached orbit since Fajr, which launched in February 2015.
Sunday’s launch comes a few days after the eleventh anniversary of Iran’s first successful orbital launch – the deployment of the Omid satellite by a Safir rocket on 2 February 2009. Iran has maintained that its development of rockets for space missions has been to enable self-reliance – as international sanctions and political pressures have made other nations unwilling or unable to cooperate with Iran and launch spacecraft on its behalf.
Iran has continued to stress that its ambitions in space are peaceful. Western nations, however, have often characterized the Iranian ...