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Iran’s “Phoenix” Space Launch Vehicle Fails to Rise From The Ashes

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Iran's "Phoenix" Space Launch Vehicle Fails to Rise From The Ashes

Click to see full-size image

On February 9th, Iran launched its domestically-made Zafar satellite, using a Simorgh (Phoenix) launch vehicle, but it failed to reach orbit.

“Simorgh satellite carrier took Zafar satellite into space with success, but the carrier failed to reach the speed needed to get the satellite into the designated orbit,” Ahmad Hosseini from the Public Relations Department of Iran’s Defense Ministry said.

Iran’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said in a Twitter post that despite the failure “we’re unstoppable,” promising that “We have more Upcoming Great Iranian Satellites!”

Jahromi before the launch said that the countdown had started, and that it was to be launched to an orbit above the Earth of approximately 500 km.

“The countdown starts for the launch of Zafar satellite in a few hours…”

The Minister tweeted on February 3rd that Iran would launch the satellite, by the end of the week, February 9th.

“We are not afraid of failure and do not lose hope… Zafar satellite will be launched by the end of this [Iranian] week to reach 530-km orbit,” he said in his tweet.

Head of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) Morteza Barari announced earlier the same day that the Zafar satellite was designed and manufactured by the scientists and elite students of Iran University of Science and Technology.

The official added, “The Zafar satellite is set to be launched by a Simorgh carrier to be put in the 530-kilometer orbit, after which we will be able to provide various services to the people and society.”

In January 2019, Iran launched its Payam (Message) satellite into space with an aim to collect data on environmental change; however, technical problems that occurred during the final stage of the launch prevented the spacecraft from reaching orbit.

No Iranian satellite has reached orbit since Fajr, which launched in February 2015.

Iran’s satellite launches take place from the Imam Khomeini Spaceport, located in Iran’s Semnan Province. This has two main launch pads – the first is used by Safir rockets and the second by Simorgh. February 9th’s launch took place from the second pad. This complex includes support buildings and a mobile service tower to provide access to Simorgh while it is standing on the launch pad.

The Safir rocket that Iran used for its earliest satellite launches was based on the Shahab-3 missile – itself derived the North Korean Hwasong-7 missile which traces its design back to the Soviet Union’s R-17 Elbrus – commonly known in the west as the Scud.

The larger and more powerful Simorgh, which was used for the Zafar launch and is also known as Safir-2A, is also understood to have been developed with North Korean assistance and visually resembles the Unha-3 rocket which launched North Korea’s first satellite in December 2012.

The Simorgh vehicle was designed to place a 350-kilogram satellite into a 500-kilometer orbit. While this is a long way behind the rockets operated by most other spacefaring nations, once the current reliability issues have been worked out it will be a significant leap forward for Iran over the Safir’s maximum payload of a little over 50 kilograms.

Iran's "Phoenix" Space Launch Vehicle Fails to Rise From The Ashes

The Simorgh space launch vehicle. Click to see full-size image

Taking advantage of this increased performance Zafar-1 was the heaviest satellite Iran had attempted to launch to date, at 113 kilograms.

If it didn’t fail to reach orbit, Zafar would have carried out two missions over 18 months.

Iran's "Phoenix" Space Launch Vehicle Fails to Rise From The Ashes

The Zafar satellite. Click to see full-size image

For its primary remote sensing mission, the spacecraft carried four cameras that can capture color images of the Earth at resolutions of up to 22.5 meters.

Its secondary mission was to have been one of communications, for which it was equipped with a store-dump payload. A user would have been able to upload a message to the satellite which would then have been relayed to receivers as the spacecraft passes overhead.

The launch appeared to have failed during second or third stage flight. Simorgh reached an apogee – the highest point of its trajectory – of 540 kilometers, but fell short of orbital velocity by about 1,000 meters per second.


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Assad must stay

i hope the problem is discovered and fixed very soon

Albert Pike

At least it wasn’t the rat, like with Elon Musks Mickey Mouse machine. But – who knows – may be a mouse running around in space, around a red hot rocket engine nozzle, is what was missing at the Iranian rocket…


Elons magic mouse can be seen running around in the picture on the right at min 20…

Damien C

Hey Albert what is that supposed to be? the thing on the right is going clockwise and anticloclkwise in same video

Albert Pike

You must ask Elon – it’s his fake – I mean his official videotransmission from space. I don’t know why he put mice in space…


Just like a game!

Xoli Xoli

Any fault or mistake makes you perfect. We learn from our own failures. Not just arogant like Erdogan,Trump and Satanyahu because their will die in their own greed and shit.


It is a learning process and these setbacks do result in innovation and better design and technology. Iran despite every effort by the US and Zionists, graduates as many engineers and scientists as the US and their quality is also quite good.


Space is a very elite club and Iran despite all obstacles has done well, any technology is incremental and Iran has been quite successful and hopefully these minor setbacks will results in innovation and more success in the future. Iranians are smart people and will excel in their space program. Interestingly, Iran graduates more engineers and scientists than most EU nations. Russia is number in sheer number of science graduates per capita.

Here are some top countries with higher number of graduates as Russian Federation takes the top slot with 454,436 of annual engineering, manufacturing, and construction graduates, followed by the United States with 237,826. Meanwhile, those engineering graduates from Iran number 233,695 annually.Jul 18, 2018www.worldatlas.com › countries-with-the-most-engineering-graduates

Assad must stay

I once studied engineering, electrical engineering and thought I wanted to be an engineer but it was just too much for me and felt I always needed much more time and effort to understand and master the material than other students did. Oh well, its not for everyone thats for sure, but I learned some good things. I realized I enjoy working with computers, IT, is what I am much better at


Iran graduates more engineers and scientists than most EU nations.

That means nothing. The quality is also important. As i heard from my friends, all iranian students they tought were lazy and dumb.

Russia is number in sheer number of science graduates per capita.

the same issue. also in the ussr were 3x more professors than in usa per cpita, and you can see, how ended the story.

Arch Bungle

Looking at the huge amounts of high quality engineering textbooks produced by Iranians in the English language I’d give them their due.

Ashok Varma

Best wishes to Iran on its growing scientific and space prowess. India also has had many successes and setbacks in its quest to master space. Iran is one of the few nations capable of space exploration and putting satellites in orbit.

Zionism = EVIL

Another great achievement by Iran, despite all the impediments, sanctions and half-assed embargoes Iran moves on, basic message is fuck the Zionist scum.

James Kira

Iran can send monkeys into space and hazara into Syria.

Chris Chuba

Iran has a bare bones space budget, I recall it being something like less than $10m a year. Shouldn’t this prove to the goons at the FDD that this is NOT A MILITARY PROGRAM? Of course not, they are mad dogs.
They will continue to insist that this is an ICBM project to produce an EMP weapon.


On February 9th, Iran launched its domestically-made Zafar satellite, using a Simorgh (Phoenix) launch vehicle, but it failed to reach orbit.

this is the problem.

insteda if Simorgh should name it Garga :)

Arch Bungle

On the bright side, if they flipped it over on it’s side it would be just perfect for taking out Tel Aviv … (watch the hasbarats come running)

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