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
Asteroid the size of Burj Khalifa heading for Earth
CALIFORNIA — A ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid, larger than the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, is heading towards Earth at a speed of 76,000 miles per hour.
Asteroid named 2002 AJ129 will fly past Earth on February 4, coming within 2.6 million miles (4.2 million kilometers) of our planet, according to NASA.
Although this is the equivalent of ten times the distance between Earth and the moon, it falls within the parameters of ‘potentially dangerous’ — a classification applied to any asteroid within 4.6 million miles of the Earth, NASA said.
“We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately,” said Paul Chodas from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Our calculations indicate that asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance – zero – of colliding with Earth on February 4 or any time over the next 100 years.”
The impressive rock measures up to 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) wide and will reach a velocity of 76,000 mph at its closest approach – greater than the majority of near-Earth objects during an Earth flyby.
The high flyby velocity is a result of the asteroid’s orbit, which edges very close to the sun. Despite this, NASA states categorically that there is no threat of a collision with our planet.