Azerbaijan, Baku, April 8 /Trend S.Isayev, T. Jafarov/
Iran will launch its own communications satellite into space in 5 years, head of country's Space Agency, Hamid Fazeli said, IRIB News reported.
Fazeli said that previously Iran already had a similar project named "Qaem", which never took off the ground.
"we have reconsidered this idea, and made some design and construction modifications," Fazeli said, adding that the new Iranian communications satellite will be lighter than Qaem was initially planned to be.
According to Fazeli, the "Qaem" project would have taken 10 years to complete, while due to modifications made to "IranSat", it will be completed in only 5 years, and will show 5 local channels.
The satellite, which will weigh 250 kilograms, will be sent into a geostationary orbit using a domestically manufactured launcher to transmit radio and television broadcasts and provide telecommunications and internet services, Fazeli said.
Iran plans to use its own satellite to translate local channels, as formerly it was doing so through other broadcasting satellites, as Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA.
Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels last year, citing pressure by the European Union.
Also, the Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) also took all Iranian channels off air in East Asia.
Several months ago, other international communication satellites also took down Iranian channels due to various reasons.
Hamid Fazeli said that Iran plans to send "IranSat" into space via three stages. First one of which would be sending "IranSat 1" into space in two years, then "IranSat 2" will be sent in 1,5 years after that.
"IranSat 1" and "Iran Sat 2" will be sent to space as test objects, while the completed "IranSat 3" satellite will be sent as a completely functioning communication satellite after the testing is complete.
Fazeli noted that satellite's manufacturing and design cost $70 million, launching of the satellites - $30 million, plus additional $40 million for transfering function blocks.
Iran launched its first satellite, called the Omid (Hope), in February 2009. The Rasad (Observation) satellite was also sent into orbit in June 2011.
In February, 2012, Iran successfully put its third domestically manufactured satellite, named the Navid (Promise), into orbit. On February 8, 2012, Iran received the first image sent by the Navid satellite.
As part of its space program, Iran also plans to launch the Fajr (Dawn) satellite in the near future.
The Fajr, which is a reconnaissance satellite powered by solar energy, will be Iran's first new-generation satellite to be sent into space.