An Iranian high resolution remote sensing satellite,' Khayyam' was launched into orbit by a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday morning.
Iran’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology Eesa Zarepoor, who is in Kazakhstan, described the launch of the satellite as the “beginning of strategic cooperation between Iran and Russia in the space industry.”
“The high-resolution images (taken by Khayyam) could be used to improve the space applications in the country in the environmental and agricultural sectors,” he said.
The launch was frowned upon by the west which apprehended that high resolution images taken by the satellite could be used to gather data for military purposes.
Zarepoor announced the Islamic Republic will send a remote-sensing satellite into an orbit 500 kilometers above the Earth by the end of the current Iranian year (March 2023).
“We are now capable of sending light satellites into orbit,” the ICT minister added, explaining that Khayyam weighs 600 kilograms and is going to orbit 500 km above the surface.
Amidst reports in the Western media that the satellite will be used by Russia to spy on military targets, Iran has said that Iranian experts will control Khayyam “from day one."
"All orders related to the control and operation of this satellite will be carried out and issued from day one and immediately after launch by Iranian experts based in Iran's...space bases," the Iranian Space Agency said in a statement on August 7.
The Washington Post reported on August 4 claiming that Russia "plans to use the satellite for several months or longer" to assist its war efforts in Ukraine before allowing Iran to take control of it.
The Iranian space agency has dismissed the claims as "untrue,” and said "no third country is able to access the information" sent by the satellite due to its "encrypted algorithm.”