TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The United States has assessed that Iran successfully launched a military satellite into orbit for the first time on Wednesday, according to two US Defense Department officials.
US Space Command is tracking two objects in orbit that were launched from within Iran, according to one of the officials. One is a rocket body and the other is assessed to be the satellite, CNN reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US was tracking the launch closely but declined to confirm the satellite had reached orbit.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran needed “to be held accountable” for the launch, which he claimed violated a UN Security Council resolution.
The move is seen as a significant step because the country’s space program utilizes the same technology that would be needed to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, which would increase Tehran’s capability to strike enemy targets.
The IRGC successfully put Noor (light) into orbit on Wednesday morning. The homegrown satellite was launched with a three-stage satellite carrier, dubbed Qassed (messenger), from a launchpad in Dasht-e Kavir, a large desert in central Iran.
Speaking on the launch, IRGC Chief Commander Major General Hossein Salami said, “Today, we can observe the world from space,” congratulating Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people on the Islamic Establishment’s achievement.