Bad Astronomy

And Iran, so far away

This actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t get much press: On February 2, Iran has successfully launched a satellite into space using its own domestically-built technology, a first (another satellite of theirs was launched in 2005 on a Russian booster). Called Omid (“Hope”), it is ostensibly a telecommunications satellite.

On the face of it, this may be a good thing. More countries seeking access to space is better for everyone. However, of course, Iran is run by a theocratic system with a fundamentalist bent, so I’m not overly thrilled with this. I’m glad it happened once Bush was out of office, since he was rattling his saber about Iran. Still, this event has stoked some fears, reasonably, that Iran has intercontinental missile capabilities; if you can get to orbit, you can potentially place a warhead anywhere on Earth you want. But in and of itself the launch is not a threatening event.

I’ll note that Iran faked a missile launch photo last July, but independent observers have verified the satellite launch (it even has a NORAD ID number).

So we’ll see where this goes. There’s not really much more to say here, except that I hope Iran is serious when it says that this was for peaceful purposes.