A Russian rocket – Soyuz rocket, has successfully launched an Iranian satellite into orbit.
The Soyuz rocket lifted off at 8:52 a.m. Moscow time (0552 GMT) Tuesday from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.
About nine minutes after the launch, it placed the Iranian satellite called Khayyam into orbit. It’s named after Omar Khayyam, a Persian scientist who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Iran has said the satellite fitted with high-resolution camera will be used for environmental monitoring and will remain fully under its control.
Iran said no other country will have access to information it gathers and it would be used for civilian purposes only, but there have been allegations that Russia may use it for surveillance of Ukraine amid its military action there.
If it operates successfully, the satellite would give Iran the ability to monitor its archenemy Israel and other countries in the Middle East.
Iran has both a civilian and military space program, which the U.S. fears could be used to advance its ballistic missile program. However, Iran has seen a series of mishaps and failed satellite launches over recent years.