US Military not sure if Iran's launch of 'military' satellite was successful
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (Sputnik) Apr 23, 2020
Tehran earlier announced that it had launched a new military satellite into low Earth orbit, after the country failed in several previous attempts to send a civilian-made device in space.
Vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Hyten, stated that the 'Noor' ('Light' in Farsi) Iranian satellite "went a very long way" but refused to confirm that it was able to reach its designated orbit. The general suggested that he would be able to clarify the fate of the Noor, as soon as he has additional information.
Hyten said the US is monitoring the launch of the Iranian satellite closely, characterizing the orbital platform as a new "hostile" act by Tehran that purportedly threatens the region and the world.
Earlier, the US Secretary of State slammed the launch, stating that Iran should "be held accountable for what it's done", claiming that the launch violated UN Security Council resolution 2231. The resolution, however, does not prohibit Iran from launching satellites, but rather calls upon the country to avoid testing and launching any type of ballistic missiles, including those used in space programmes.
The purpose of the Noor satellite remains unknown, although it is said to be slated for use by the Iranian military. Prior to the 22 April launch, Tehran in 2020 and 2019 made several unsuccessful attempts to launch civilian satellites into low Earth orbit.
USAF 18th Space Control Squadron Tracks Iran's 'Nour' Satellite as It Enters Earth Orbit
Following a Tehran announcement of the successful launch of its new military satellite, the vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Hyten, refused to confirm that it had reached its designated orbit (425 kilometres or 624 miles).
The United States Air Force's 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SPCS) later on Wednesday tweeted that it had "tracked 2 objects, NOUR 01 (Sat Catalog No. 45529), QASED Rocket Body (45530) from #space launch originating in Iran".
Following the 18 SPSC tweet, a tweet from the US Space Command followed, saying that SPACECOM "monitors #space w best surveillance network/missile warning capability in the world".
The recently-established structure responsible for US military operations in space, noted that both the US Department of Defence and Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond were "watching Iran's pursuit of viable space launch tech/overall ballistic missile prog confident in our ability to #deter #defend all Iranian aggression".
Following the launch of the Nour satellite, described in Iranian media as the nation's "first multi-purpose satellite with application in the defence industry among other areas", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that Iran "needs to be held accountable for what they have done", claiming that by launching the satellite into earth orbit, Tehran had violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
The latter, adopted in 2015 following the successful sealing of the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided for the termination of a variety of sanctions in place against Iran at the time.
The resolution, while calling on Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology", does not explicitly prohibit Tehran from launching satellites.
Iran hails military satellite launch as US tensions simmer
Tehran (AFP) April 22, 2020
Iran's Revolutionary Guards announced they had successfully launched the country's first military satellite on Wednesday, at a time of renewed tensions with US forces in the Gulf. The United States charges Iran's satellite programme is a cover for its development of missiles. The Islamic republic has previously insisted its aerospace activities comply with its international obligations. Tensions between the arch foes escalated last week with the US accusing Iran of harassing its ships in the Gul ... read more
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