A spokesman for Iran’s Defense Ministry said the Islamic Republic is planning two more launches of its domestically developed hybrid satellite launch vehicle, called Zoljanah.
Ahmad Hosseini told Iran’s official IRNA news agency on Wednesday that three research-oriented launches are planned for the Zoljanah satellite carrier.
While one has already taken place, two more launches are imminent, he said.
“Zoljanah is a three-phase carrier powered by hybrid fuel, and the performance of different phases is studied and evaluated at each research launch,” the official explained.
After installing the required technology and successfully operating, the Zoljanah satellite carrier will be able to “place payloads weighing up to 220 kilograms into orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers,” Hosseini pointed out.
Iran’s Defense Ministry launched the Zoljanah satellite launcher for the first time in February 2021, broadcast live on state television.
Zoljanah is named after the horse of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad. The satellite carrier is 25.5 meters long and weighs around 52 tons. It uses a solid fuel engine with a diameter of 1.5 meters and 74 tons of thrust.
Earlier this year, the commander of the aerospace branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said the country had mastered satellite launcher technology and tested its first such solid-fuelled launcher.
“From now on, Iran will be able to launch a large number of satellites with inexpensive engines,” Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said on March 13.
Explaining the test on an Iranian solid-fuel satellite launcher engine, Hajizadeh said the test was “the first time it has been successfully conducted” in the country.
“During the past two years, all Iranian satellite launchers that have been tested have run on liquid fuel. But in this test we managed to use the solid engine with a thrust of 66 tons,” said the Iranian commander.
In late December 2020, Iran’s Defense Ministry announced that it had successfully launched a domestically built satellite launch vehicle called Simorgh (Phoenix) and sent three research devices into space.
“During this space research mission, for the first time, three research devices were launched simultaneously at an altitude of 470 kilometers and a speed of 7,350 meters per second,” said ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini at the time.