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Iran Tests First Solid-Fuel Space Rocket for Cheaper Satellite Delivery, IRGC General Says

© AP Photo / Iranian Defense MinistryThis picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, shows the launch of Iran's newest satellite-carrier rocket, called "Zuljanah," at an undisclosed location, Iran.
This picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, shows the launch of Iran's newest satellite-carrier rocket, called Zuljanah, at an undisclosed location, Iran. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.01.2022
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A less expensive rocket, however, comes with certain downsides, such as reduced payload weight that the rocket can lift to low-Earth orbit, where most satellites are deployed.
Iran has succesfully live-tested a solid-fuel engine space rocket, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, stated during an address to religious scholars in the city of Qom. This is the nation's first-ever successful endeavour in the field.
The domestically developed and built carrier rocket, Zuljanah, will allow the Islamic Republic to further advance its nascent space programme.
"From now on, Iran will be able to launch a great number of satellites using low-cost engines".
Over the past two years, Iranian satellite launches have relied on carriers that use more expensive liquid fuel, Hajizadeh explained. But now, the Islamic Republic can launch new satellites at a lower cost. The IRGC commander did not elaborate on just how much Iran will now save on each launch via the Zuljanah rocket.
Zuljanah's solid-fuel engine produces 66-tonne force or 725 kN thrust, which puts the carrier behind Simorgh – a rocket that uses four liquid fuel engines producing up to 1,590 kN thrust. Due to this difference, the solid fuel Zuljanah can lift up to 220 kg of payload versus the 350 kg that Simorgh can carry to low-Earth orbit.
Simorgh launch vehicle - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
Iran Launches Three New Satellites Into Low Earth Orbit
Despite the two-fold difference in thrust, Zuljanah still can carry only 37% less payload. General Hajizadeh stated that the recently tested solid-fuel rocket was built using composite materials instead of metals, thus bringing down its weight, saving fuel for lift off, and increasing its overall thrust.
Iran is testing several satellite carriers at the moment, having already deployed several satellites into low-Earth orbit. These satellites mainly monitor Iranian territory for agricultural purposes and to detect various hazards, such as wildfires. Iran's Defence Ministry reported last month that it had launched three new satellites via one Simorgh liquid fuel rocket carrier.
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