Iran announces security-oriented 'space tracking center'

A new Iranian space monitoring center will track orbiting objects, the Iranian Defense Minister has said. It is the latest of Iran’s space program claims, which include sending a monkey into orbit.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad praised the new center as a
benchmark in the country’s space program.

“This is a highly great achievement and we are among the few
countries with such a center and if we send a satellite into the
space, we can receive its information in our country,”

Ahmadinejad said in an address inaugurating the center in Markazi
province on Sunday. He added that the “inauguration of
this center has brought us one step closer to the complete use of
space.”

Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi told reporters that the
center would mostly be used to monitor satellites passing
overhead using radar, electro-optic and radio systems.

Iran already maintains a number of command and control stations
around the country, and one inside the territory of its regional
ally Syria.

The US, which has punished Iran with multiple rounds of sanctions
to inhibit its supposed atomic weapons program, has voiced fears
that developments in space technology could bring Tehran closer
to making long-range missiles.

Tehran has denied these claims, maintaining that the space
program is purely civilian-orientated. Of particular concern to
Washington is Iran’s ambition to put more satellites into orbit,
which Tehran says are aimed at monitoring earthquakes, improving
security and increasing military surveillance.

Iran regularly boasts about its many technological advances. In
March, the Aerospace Industries Organization claimed it sent a
monkey into space aboard a Pioneer explorer rocket. The monkey
allegedly returned to Earth alive after being sent into orbit at
an altitude of 120 kilometers.

Iran also claims it sent a number of smaller animals into space,
including a rat, turtles and worms aboard a capsule carried by
its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010. The Director of the Iran Space
Agency (ISA), Hamid Fazeli, hailed the mission as a huge success
and said it was a prelude to sending a human into space.

This article originally appeared on: RT