Ahmadinejad Says Iran Will Send Satellite Rocket to Space

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Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted Thursday as saying that Iran plans to send a satellite carrier rocket with a satellite into space soon.

According to Iranian state TV, Ahmadinejad said the Persian nation will soon "launch a rocket, which has 16 engines and will take a satellite some 430 miles" into space.

The remarks by the Iranian president came during his meeting with a group of Iranian expatriates in New York, where Ahmadinejad is attending the U.N. General Assembly.

There were no details about what type of satellite the rocket would carry, and Ahmadinejad gave no time frame for the plan.

The satellite will likely be a commercial one for communication purposes or a research satellite for meteorological studies. Iran has never announced plans to send any military satellites into orbit.

But the country has long pursued the goal of developing a space program, generating unease among world leaders already concerned about its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Earlier this month, Tehran announced that a joint research satellite built by Iran, China and Thailand, was sent into orbit by a Chinese-made rocket. At the time, Iranian officials said the three countries suffer from natural disasters and that the satellite would transmit photos to help deal with such crises.

Also, Iran tested a rocket last month which it hopes will one day carry an all-Iranian research satellite. Tehran sent its first commercial satellite into space on a Russian rocket in 2005.