Iran Conducts Space Launch

April 20, 2016

Author: 

Bill Gertz

Publication: 

Washington Free Beacon

Iran conducted its first launch of the new Simorgh space launch vehicle, a launch that was judged to be partly successful by U.S. intelligence agencies.  According to a U.S. defense official, the event was either an unsuccessful launch or a test of the rocket's third stage that was not intended to send a satellite into orbit.  A State Department spokesman said he could not confirm the launch.  The Simorgh, a large liquid-fueled rocket, has been under surveillance by U.S. satellites at a launch pad at Iran's Semnan satellite launch center.  The rocket is believed to be based on North Korean missile technology and capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.  U.S. Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told Congress that the Simorgh eventually could be reconfigured as an intercontinental ballistic missile.