Iran plans new satellite launch in late August

AFP - Telecommunication Minister Reza Taghipour said on Wednesday that Iran is expected to launch a new satellite, Rasad 1, in the last week of August, the Mehr news agency reported.

"Rasad 1 (Observation) satellite is expected to be launched into space on the back of a domestic carrier during the period marking the government week (last week of August)," Taghipour said.

He said the launch would mark Iran's "newest achievement" in space technology.

The minister had previously said that during the current Iranian year to March 2011, new satellites capable of transmitting data and images would be launched.

In his Wednesday comments he did not say whether Rasad 1 was one of these satellites.

Iran in February 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 2009, Iran launched its first home-built satellite, the Omid (Hope), to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.