Iran’s Defense Ministry says it has “successfully” tested its hybrid-propellant satellite carrier rocket called Zoljanah for the second time.
Defense Ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said on Sunday that the three-stage Zoljanah (Zuljanah) satellite launch vehicle has two solid propulsion phases and a single liquid propulsion phase. The spokesman did not elaborate which part of the test was successful as the satellite-carrying rocket did not reach orbit.
The test was carried out at a desert launch pad at Imam Khomeini Space Center southeast of Semnan, the site of frequent recent failed attempts.
Zoljanah is named after the horse of third Shiite imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. The satellite carrier is 25.5 meters long and weighs about 52 tons. It utilizes a 1.5-meter diameter solid fuel engine with 74 tons of thrust. The maiden launch of this satellite took place on February 2, 2021.
Earlier in the month satellite photos from Maxar Technologies revealed Iran’s preparations for the rocket launch.
A Pentagon spokesman said the American military “will continue to closely monitor Iran’s pursuit of viable space launch technology and how it may relate to advancements in its overall ballistic missile program.” The United States says that space launches by Iran could be a cover to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that would be able to deliver nuclear warheads.
The attempted space launch came a day after Joseph Borrell, the EU lead foreign policy official, was in Tehran to restart the stalled Vienna negotiations aimed at salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.