Chinese Kuaizhou 1A Rocket Fails After Launch

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A Kuaizhou 1A rocket failed to orbit the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02C optical remote-sensing satellite after liftoff from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Saturday afternoon.

The official Xinhua news agency attributed the failure to the “abnormal performance” of the launch vehicle. An investigation has commenced.

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An Overview of Iran’s Counterspace Strategy and Space Program

Safir rocket on launch pad (Credit: ISA)

Global Counterspace Capabilities:
An Open Source Assessment

Secure World Foundation
April 2020

Full Report

The following excerpts from the report summarizes Iran’s counterspace strategy and its launch vehicle and satellite programs.

Country Summary

Iran has a nascent space program that includes building and launching small satellites that have limited capability, although it has experienced several recent failed launch attempts. Technologically, it is unlikely Iran has the capacity to build on-orbit or direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) capabilities, and little military motivations to do so at this point. Iran has demonstrated an EW capability to persistently interfere with commercial satellite signals, although the capability against military signals is difficult to ascertain.

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Iran Suffers Third Straight Launch Failure

Imam Khomeini Spaceport (Credit: Tasnim News Agency)

Iranian state television is reporting that the nation’s latest attempt to orbit a satellite has failed in the wake of two unsuccessful launches last year.

The Simorgh (“Phoenix”) rocket wasn’t able to accelerate the Zafar 1 satellite to orbital velocity, according to media reports. The 113 kg Earth observation satellite was to have placed into an orbit 530 km high.

Zafar had an Earth imaging camera aboard as well as a store-and-forward communications system.

The launch occurred from the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Semnan province.

Iran’s two orbital launch attempts using Simourgh and Safir rockets failed last year. A third booster exploded on the launch pad while undergoing pre-flight preparations.