Iran probably prepares maiden flight of Simorgh rocket in Semnan Space Center

It seems that news from February is confirmed by other source. Commercial camera installed on International Space Station spotted intensive movement in Semnan Space Center (Imam Khomeini Space Center) located around 200 km on East from Tehran. Semnan was planned as place for testing new Iranian medium launch vehicle - Simorgh SLV rocket.

Previous news from Iran was also related with extraordinary intensive activity on opened in 2008 Iranian space center located Semnan. Information was based on pictures taken by satellite and given to public by Airbus Defence and Space in February 2016. Pictures were widely commented - mainly due the fact that they were made few weeks after North Korean launched their Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite. Iran also announced NOTAM (notification for airmen) with warning for region around Semnan for 1st and 2nd march 2016. Nervous atmosphere around supposed Iranian launch was caused by previous test launched of MRBM missile on October 10, 2016 with violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 and assumptions that Simorgh launch is nothing more than secret test of next MRBM missile. After reaching date announced in NOTAM, any space launch from Iranian territory was not spotted or confirmed by any space agency including Iranian Space Agency (ISA). For the moment no active NOTAMs were announced for Semnan, but recently Canadian company Urthecast announced images from their camera installed on International Space Station. Camera named Iris remains installed outside the Zvezda module (installation of cameras was performed during 177th and 178th ISS spacewalks on 27 December 2013 and 27 January 2014) and is The High-Resolution Camera (HRC) utilizing CMOS detector to capture full-color, Ultra High-Definition (UHD) videos (up to 1 m length) with a Ground Sample Distance (GSD) with 1 m. Camera took number of pictures which were interpreted by Urthecast. According to Space.com which is quoting Urthecast representatives:

"(The Iris imagery ) shows increased activity in the area, suggesting that a launch of the Simorgh SLV rocket — built to send satellites into space — is fast approaching,"

Information was announced on 16 March 2016 and mention Simorgh SLV rocket. It is third Iranian launch vehicle (other two are Kavoshgar and Safir) and it was developed for lifting up to 350 kg to LEO but rocket has not performed maiden fligth. Simorgh is 27 m long with diameter at 2.5 m and mass at 77 t but data are not officially confirmed. Rocket is designed with two stages, engines are liquid fueled (central engine and four additional vernier engines are probably based on engines from Safir rocket). Its maiden flight was postponed multiple times and ultimately it was planned for March 2016 with Dosti observation microsatellite (with weight around 50 kg with planned operating altitude of 500 km) on atop. Satellite was presented recently on conference on 3 February 2016 and it was stated that it is ready to mission. Launch was partially confirmed in statement of Islamic Republic News Agency which was given to public on 25 January 2016. All available information seems to confirm that Iran prepares for space mission but still there is no real evidence which is appropriate NOTAM for Semnan region.

On picture above You can see Dasht-e-Lut Desert in eastern Iran seen from International Space Station.

Sources:
http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81935422/
http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/531224/%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%AD%D8%B6%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3-%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%B9%DA%A9%D8%B3
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simorgh_(rocket)
https://www.urthecast.com/enterprise/cameras
http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKCN0SA20Z20151016?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

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