Jerusalem – The Israeli security establishment has been searching the skies for the small Iranian satellite, Hope, ever since the 15-pound communications device was launched into space on Saturday.

It is supposed to pass over the Middle East once every 90 minutes, but there have been no signs of it.

Now it is being speculated that it failed to survive the launch into space.

Israeli security experts offer three possible scenarios for what became of the satellite. The first is that it disengaged from the Safir missile, returned to the atmosphere and was burned; the second is that the satellite failed to disengage from the Safir and fell with the remnants of the missile; the third, that the satellite entered into orbit, but its transmitter doesn’t work.

The director of the Iranian Space Authority announced yesterday that Iran was prepared to help Muslim countries develop the capacity for launching satellites into space.

Yet only a few hours after the launch, the director of the Iranian Space Authority claimed that the satellite in question had been a dummy satellite. Senior U.S. Defense Department officials told CNN yesterday that the launch had not gone as well as the Iranians had claimed.

The Israeli response to Iranians firing ballistic missiles has been to install two batteries of Arrow missiles, which could potentially defend against Iranian missiles.

Meanwhile, Israel Aircraft Industries and Boeing Aircraft began earlier this year to develop the Arrow 3 missile system that is supposed to be able to deal with Iranian ballistic missiles at a distance of between 300 and 400 miles away from Israel – while they are almost in space, en route to Israel. The development of the Arrow 3 missile system is supposed to be completed by 2012.

This was the third time that Iran announced a satellite launch. Last February, Iran conducted an experiment that it described as a space launch, but the launcher blew up a few minutes after the missile left the launching pad. In October 2005, the Iranian satellite Sina 1 satellite, built in Russia, was launched by a Russian launcher.

There are more details that reinforce the assessment that this was a fraud: The Iranians did not give out any information about the path of the satellite, nor about the altitude reached by the launcher.

Communication satellites orbit at altitudes of 36,000 kilometers, in a precise equatorial path, while this launcher ascended from the launching pad and suddenly “stopped” in the dark night sky.

Unless this satellite weighed the same as a grapefruit, experts say the thrust of such a launcher could not put it into orbit at all.

In addition, it seems that the night launch was meant to hide the missile and its ground systems from the eyes of Israel’s and U.S. spy satellites. But the U.S. constantly monitors Iranian launchings with the aid of three sensor satellites over the Middle East, which could precisely detect the “heat signature” of the launcher and add it to their detailed catalog, making it possible to identify immediately in future launchings.

This is what happened about a month and a half ago, when Iran launched many Scud, Shihab and Zelzal missiles. American and Israeli intelligence learned a lot from this “pyrotechnics display,” where, again, critics say Iran also tried to pull the wool over the world’s eyes with a fabricated picture.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.