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Iran says will launch first satellite in April
TEHRAN (AFP) Sep 02, 2004
Iran intends to launch its first satellite into space in April 2005, with the device described as being purely for civil purposes, Iranian media reported Thursday.

The satellite, code-named Mesbah (lantern), was shown on state television. It is said to weigh 60 kilograms (132 pounds) and is cube-shaped which each side measuring 50 centimetres (20 inches). It will be put into orbit at an altitude of 900 kilometres (about 560 miles).

"The satellite will be used to identify natural resources, control the electrical and energy network (gas and oil), and later on can be used by communications and crisis management," press reports said.

The head of the Islamic republic's Scientific and Industrial Research Centre, Seyed Mohammad Fathi, was quoted as saying the project would allow Iran to develop other satellites in the future.

In January, Iran's defence minister said the satellite would be launched by Iranian technology, but gave no further details.

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