Project of Iranian spacecraft entered new phase

After 3 years delay of Iranian program of sending man into space reached next level of development after finishing conceptual design phase. Unfortunately along with that date of launching manned vehicle was moved in time.

On June 22, 2016, in Tehran, Iranian scientists working for ISA (Iranian Space Agency) finished successfully first phase of development of their manned space capsule. It is important information after showing mockup of the spacecraft in 2015, but due the lack of technical specification, parameters and possibilities of the future vehicle are still mystery. Mockup showed rather small, conical in shape spacecraft with place for only one astronaut. It has four thrusters placed on the top and square hatch which is installed over seat. First mission of the spacecraft was planned for March 2016, but in the first half of 2015 it was pretty clear that whole program is delayed and launch was postponed for three years. Now, according to Tehran Times, ISA set new date for first mission of the vehicle for 2025.

Planned spacecraft will weigh 1000 kg and will reach altitude of 175 km. Still it was not unveiled how Iran is going to lift capsule into space; their launch vehicles are heavily modified ICBM and they were designed to deliver to orbit satellites, not manned spacecrafts. Simorgh SLV rocket, most recent Iranian launch vehicle, is able to deliver to altitude of 500 km 350 kg of payload. Considering latest information, that weight of the spacecraft will not exceed 1000 kg, it is almost three times more than Simorgh can lift. Rocket is designed with two stages and with diameter at 2.5 m it rather makes using larger engines impossible. With height of 27 m, Simorgh would probably even have not enough large fuel tanks for more efficient engines. It is quite sure, that only way to improve Simorgh is adding another stage, but this means that ISA would probably be forced to start cooperation with China or Russia to seek for new technologies for upgrading their rocket. Still it is worth to consider, why Iran started to develop spacecraft without launch vehicle - maybe ISA was counting on establishing cooperation with Russia, China or India or even would like to use one of the rockets offered by one of these countries.

On picture above: Iran from space.