Iran to launch new satellites before March 2011

AFP - Telecommunication Minister Reza Taghipour said on Monday that Iran will launch new satellites capable of transmitting data and images by March next year, official media said.

"The satellites, which will be sent into space this (Iranian) year (which runs to March 2011), have telecommunication and filming capability," Taghipour said on a visit to Moscow, the state television website said.

"These are Iranian-made and are currently undergoing tests... and, once approved, they will be sent into space."

He said the launch would take place once the "launcher, the ground station and the guidance system are ready."

In February, Iran revealed details of three new satellite prototypes -- the Toloo (Dawn), Navid (Good News) and Mesbah-2 (Lantern), the last said to be a telecommunications satellite.

In February last year, Iran launched its first home-built satellite, the Omid (Hope), to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.