Sputnick The Iranian Sequel : Iran Launches Its First Domestic Satellite

Iran said it launched its first domestically produced satellite, an event likely to prompt new Western concerns about its development of technology with possible military applications.

Sputnick was launched October 4, 1957 by the Soviet Union.

The surprise launch of Sputnik 2, coupled with the spectacular failure of the United States’ first two Project Vanguard launch attempts, shocked the United States, which responded with a number of early satellite launches, including Explorer 1, Project SCORE, and Courier 1B. The Sputnik crisis also led to the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (renamed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1972): DARPA, and NASA, and an increase in U.S. government spending on scientific research and education.

The Iranian satellite launch may raise tensions with the West at a time when the new U.S. administration has indicated its willingness to engage in talks with the government in Tehran.

The U.S. State Department said Iran’s development of a space-launch vehicle gives the country the “technical basis” to develop long-range ballistic missile systems.

“Iran’s efforts to further develop its missile-delivery capabilities are a matter of acute concern,” State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said in a statement. “Actions such as this do not convince the international community that Iran is a responsible government interested in advancing stability and security in the region.”

The Iranian satellite launch is echoing some similar concerns to the old launch from 51 years ago.

Omid is the third Iranian-owned satellite to have been placed in orbit, the Press TV news channel said. The first, Sina- 1, was jointly developed by Russian and Iranian scientists and launched from a Russian space center in 2005. The second, which was designed jointly with China and Thailand, was sent into orbit in 2008, the English-language channel said.