Iran is seeking Russian assistance for a new spy satellite: reports

a white rocket launches into a blue sky.
A spy satellite for Iran, called Khayyam, lifted off atop a Russian Soyuz rocket on Aug. 9, 2022 from the Russia-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Image credit: Roscosmos)

Iran plans to hold talks with Russia over assistance to build a new Khayyam remote-sensing satellite.

Discussions will cover developing technical specifications for new Khayyam satellites, along with plans for a small geostationary satellite and a telecommunications satellite, Russia's TASS news agency reported, citing the Iranian Mehr News Agency. 

Russia launched a Khayyam satellite for Iran on a Soyuz rocket in August last year. The spacecraft is a Russian-built Kanopus-V Earth-observation satellite with a resolution of 3.9 feet (1.2 meters). Khayyam satellites are named after the famed Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam. 

Related: Iran in space: rockets, satellites & monkeys (photos)

Russia's space industry has suffered a huge loss of business following the country's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russia has lost commercial launch contracts and space partners, while its space budget has likely been further hit by economic sanctions and other impacts of the war.

The country has since been looking to find new customers and partners. These have come in the form of countries including Iran and North Korea. All three have had sanctions placed on them by the U.S. and other Western countries.

Further Iranian space plans involve developing and launching new satellites, according to the report.  including a constellation of 10 small satellites called the General Soleimani Satellite System. 

Sending humans to space has also been mooted by Iran's Information and Communications Technology Minister. The country is currently, however, only capable of sending small satellites to low Earth orbit.

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Andrew Jones
Contributing Writer

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.