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Iran unveils models of two new satellites

Report by Tehran Times; photos by ISNA

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the models of two new domestically designed satellites, named the Nahid and the Zohre, on Monday during his visit to an exhibition of the country's achievements in the aerospace industry, which is being held on the occasion of the National Space Technology Day.

Experts at the research center of the Iranian Space Agency, in cooperation with scientists at Amirkabir University of Technology, have designed the Nahid satellite.

The missions of the satellite are to assess the efficiency of the solar panels which have been used for the first time in a domestically manufactured satellite and to take photographs and transmit them to Earth.

The Zohre, which is a communications satellite, has been designed to transmit radio and television broadcasts and provide telecommunications, banking, and internet services.

The satellite has a life of 15 years and will be sent into a geostationary orbit.

A geostationary orbit is a circular orbit 35,786 kilometers above the Earth's equator and following the direction of the Earth's rotation. An object in such an orbit has an orbital period equal to the Earth's rotational period, and thus appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers. Communications satellites and weather satellites are often given geostationary orbits, so that the satellite antennas that communicate with them do not have to move to track them.

Iran launched its first satellite, called the Omid (Hope), in February 2009. The Rasad (Observation) satellite was also sent into space in June 2011.

In February, 2012, Iran successfully put its third domestically manufactured satellite, named the Navid (Promise), into orbit. On February 8, 2012, Iran received the first image sent by the Navid satellite.

The Navid is designed to collect data on weather conditions and monitor for natural disasters. It has advanced control technology, a higher resolution camera, and photocells to generate power.

As part of its space program, Iran also plans to put the Sharifsat satellite into orbit by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, which concludes on March 20.

According to officials, the Fajr (Dawn) satellite will most probably be sent into space before the current year ends.

The Fajr, which is a reconnaissance satellite powered by solar energy, will be Iran's first new-generation satellite to be sent into orbit.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi also announced on Monday that the Tolou (Sunrise) would be sent into space aboard the Simorgh satellite-carrier rocket from the Imam Khomeini space center in the near future.

He also said that the project to build the Imam Khomeini space center is in its final stage.

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