Jerusalem – Varying reports came out of Iran yesterday of its first successful launch of a domestically-made satellite carrier loaded possibly with a communications satellite.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency had initially reported that the country did indeed launch an Iranian-made communications satellite into orbit.
At press time, reports from respected news sources still varied. U.S. and Israeli sources also confirmed Iranian claims.
Other reports however have stated a “dummy” or test satellite was launched, and the BBC has reported that no satellite at all had been launched. The BBC said only an Iranian-made missile capable of putting a communication satellite in orbit was successfully launched.
In any event, it would appear Iran’s aerospace program -including missiles and warplanes – is making progress.
In October 2005, Iran launched a Russian-made Iranian satellite using a Russian rocket.
Yesterday’s launch added to ongoing concerns over Iran’s nuclear aspirations and capabilities.
Iranian officials further boasted that the country has increased the range of its warplanes, allowing them to fly as far as Israel and back without refueling.
Iranian State TV quoted Iranian air force chief Gen. Ahmad Mighani as saying Iranian warplanes can now fly 2,400 miles without refueling. He didn’t specify the aircraft type or explain how the range was extended.
Israel is about 700 miles from Iran.
Such a range could be achieved by using external fuel tanks attached to the wings or fuselage that can be released when empty.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008