Israel Air Force estimates Iran could launch spy satellite within year

Security source: Arab countries and Iran are investing great efforts in satellites programs.

The Israel Air Force estimates that Iran could launch a spy satellite within a year, the head of the Air Force technology department told “Globes” at an Israel Space Agency conference. This is the first time that an Israel defense source has commented publicly on Iranian satellite efforts, and on the timetable for the Iranian project.

The Air Force technology head was speaking at an evening at Air Force House in Herzliya commemorating the victims of the Columbia space shuttle disaster. When asked about the space programs of other Middle Eastern countries, he answered, “Arab countries and Iran are investing great efforts in satellites programs, obviously for intelligence gathering purposes.

”There is a danger that in less than a year, Iran will be capable of launching a satellite into space. They are making great efforts in their space program, some of which is camouflaged as university and similar projects”

The Iranian space program was discovered in 1998, when Iranian President Mohammad Khatami visited a defense company in Iran, and was photographed near a small model of an exposed missile, called the Iris, with a small satellite protruding.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on March 2, 2004

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