Iran Reports Launch Of Small Satellite Into Orbit

Published February 3, 2012 6:36AM (EST)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it has successfully launched a new satellite into orbit, the latest in its ambitious space program.

State news agency IRNA says the satellite — designed to collect data on weather conditions and monitor for natural disasters — was launched early Friday.

IRNA says the Navid, or Gospel in Farsi, weighs about 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and will orbit the earth at an altitude of up to 234 miles (375 kilometers). It's of a type of miniaturized or microsatellites, which are cheaper and allow for less costly launch vehicles.

Navid is the third small satellite Iran has launched over the past years. Earlier ones lasted about a month each.

Iran's space program has raised concerns because the same technology that allows missiles to launch satellites can be used to fire warheads.

By Salon Staff

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