TEHRAN — Iran said on Thursday that it has “successfully” tested a satellite-launch rocket, days after warning Washington of a response to new US sanctions over the Islamic republic`s ballistic missiles programme.
The test comes years behind schedule and may be the second one for the rocket.
State television said the launch vehicle, named Simorgh, was capable of propelling a satellite weighing 250 kilograms (550 pounds) to an altitude of 500 kilometres (300 miles) above earth.
“The Imam Khomeini Space Centre was officially opened with the successful test of the Simorgh (Phoenix) space launch vehicle,” state television said.
It also showed footage of the launch from the site decorated with pictures of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor as Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Named after a mythical beast of Persian folklore, the rocket was first unveiled under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010 as part of the celebrations of Iran’s first domestic satellite launch.
Simorgh’s maiden flight was initially scheduled for the same year, but the project was plagued by years of delays. On Thursday, Iranian media reported that the space rocket had been successfully tested for the first time.
The launch is not believed to be the maiden flight for Simorgh as it was first tested in April 2016, Russian and US officials reported at the time. The test last year apparently ended in failure, since Iran never officially announced it.Follow @gorkhapost