The Safir (Persian: سفیر‎, meaning "ambassador") is the first Iranian expendable launch vehicle able to place a satellite in orbit.[2] The first successful orbital launch using the Safir launch system took place on 2 February 2009 when a Safir carrier rocket placed the Omid satellite into an orbit with a 245.2 km (152.4 mi) apogee.[3][4]

The Simorgh is a larger launcher based on Safir technology, and sometimes called the Safir-2.[5]

Damaged launch pad at Imam Khomeini Spaceport after rocket explosion of 29 August 2019.

Safir has made seven launches so far, putting 4 satellites into orbit.

Flight No. Date & Time (UTC) Payload Type Outcome Remarks
1 17 August 2008 Unknown; may be boilerplate Safir-1 Unknown US defense officials claimed the vehicle failed after first-stage powered flight; Iranian officials claimed that the launch was a suborbital test carrying a boilerplate satellite.[9][10]
2 2 February 2009 Omid Safir-1 Success First successful orbital launch of Safir making Iran the ninth country to develop an indigenous satellite launch capability.[11]
3 15 June 2011 Rasad Safir-1A Success Rasad-1 was launched on the maiden flight of the Safir-1B with increased thrust.
4 3 February 2012 Navid Safir-1B Success New configuration of the Safir carrier rocket, featuring a larger second stage with 20% more thrust.
5 Between 18 May and 21 June 2012 Unknown Safir-1B+ Failure Satellite imagery shows a blast scar on launch pad, suggesting that there has been a launch. No officials have confirmed a launch. It may have been either an engine test or rocket failure at high altitude.[5]
6 2 February 2015 Fajr Safir-1B+ Success First Iranian satellite with orbital maneuverability using cold-gas thrusters.
7 5 February 2019 Doosti (Friendship) Safir-1B+ Failure The Deputy Minister of Defense in Iran claimed a successful launch.[12] Research associates at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies claimed the launch failed at some point after liftoff.[13]
8 29 August 2019 Nahid 1 Safir-1B+ Simorgh is a larger launcher based on Safir technology, and sometimes called the Safir-2.[5]

A sub-orbital test flight, named Kavoshgar-1 (Persian: کاوشگر ۱‎, "Explorer-1"), was conducted on 4 February 2008, as announced by state-run television. A launch on 25 February 2007 may also have been of the same type. The first flights carried instruments to measure the higher atmosphere. The rocket launched on 4 February 2008 was a liquid-propellant-driven rocket, probably a derivative of the Shahab-3, that reached an altitude of 200–250 km in space, and successfully returned science data according to the Iranian News Agency.

On 19 February 2008, Iran offered new information about the rocket and announced that Kavoshgar-1 used a two staged rocket.[6] The first stage separated after 100 seconds and returned to earth with the help of a parachute. The second stage continued its ascent to an altitude of 200 kilometres. However it was not intended to reach orbital velocity.

Earlier reports by the Iranian News Agency suggested that Kavoshgar-1 used a three staged rocket with the first stage separating after 90 seconds and the rocket reaching an orbit between 200 and 250 kilometres.[7][8]

The successful development and launch of a sounding-space-rocket was already announced a year earlier, on 25 February 2007. It is unknown if the sounding rocket launched on 25 February 2007 and the rocket launched on 4 February 2008 are of the same type.

Launch history