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Iran's Research Rocket Beams Back Science Data

Iran's Research Rocket Beams Back Science Data
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, surrounded by officials, stands under a research rocket, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. Iran launched a research rocket Monday and unveiled its first major space center that will be used to launch research satellites, state-run television reported.
(Image: © AP Photo/ISNA, Mehdi Ghasemi.)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran'srecently launched research rocket has successfully transmitted scientific databack to the country, state television reported Sunday.

The rockettransmitted the information after reaching an orbit of 200-250 kilometers(125-155 miles) above the earth, state TV quoted Mehran Mirshams, an Iranian spaceofficial, as saying.

The launchearlier this month provoked unease abroad because the same technology usedto construct rockets can also be used to deliver warheads. Iran insists its spaceprogram is peaceful and is working toward the launch of the country's firstdomestically built satellite this summer.

?Iran will launch its firstsatellite into a 650-kilometer (400-mile) orbit in June,'' Mirshams was quotedas saying. He said the satellite would pass over Iran five or six times in 24hours.

Tehran unveiled the firstIranian-made satellite, called Omid, or Hope, and inaugurated its first spacecenter earlier this month when it launched the research rocket.

Iran says it wants to putits own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in theearthquake-prone nation and improve telecommunications. Iranian officials alsopoint to America's use of satellites to monitor Afghanistan and Iraq and saythey need similar abilities for their security.

In 2005, the governmentsaid it had allocated $500 million for space projects in the next five years.Also in 2005, Iran launched its first commercial satellite, Sina-1, froma Russian rocket in a joint project with Moscow, which appears to be themain partner in transferring space technology to Iran.

Iran hopes to launch fourmore satellites by 2010, the government has said, to increase the number ofland and mobile telephone lines to 80 million from 22 million. It also hopes toexpand its satellite capabilities to increase Internet users to 35 million from5.5 million.

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