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Noor 3

Iran has recently launched its Noor 3 satellite into orbit, marking another development in its space program. This military and imaging satellite follows the previous Noor 1 and Noor 2 satellites and carries significant geopolitical implications.

This topic of “Noor 3” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

The Noor 3 Satellite

  • Type: Noor 3 is a military satellite with imaging capabilities.
  • Succession: It follows the previous Noor 1 and Noor 2 satellites, continuing Iran’s efforts in space technology.
    • Noor 1: Launched in April 2020 but fell back to Earth in April 2022.
    • Noor 2: Launched in March 2022 and remains operational, potentially working in conjunction with Noor 3 when the latter comes online.

Significance

The launch of Noor 3 carries significant implications:

Escalating Tensions

  • The launch of military satellites by Iran raises tensions with Western nations, particularly due to concerns about the potential use of such technology in nuclear weapons development.

Western Concerns

  • Western nations, including the United States and its allies, have expressed deep concerns about Iran’s satellite program. They worry that these satellites could be used for military purposes, including enhancing Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities.

The Launch Mechanism

  • Noor 3 was launched into orbit using a three-stage Qasem rocket, showcasing Iran’s ability to independently carry out satellite launches.

The Operators

  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are responsible for operating the country’s space program.
    • Military Infrastructure: The Revolutionary Guards maintain a parallel military infrastructure alongside Iran’s regular armed forces.
    • Answer to Supreme Leader: This space program answers directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s Space Program

  • This is not Iran’s first foray into space. The country successfully launched its first satellite in April 2020, demonstrating its growing space capabilities.

Orbital Details

  • Noor 3 is in orbit at an altitude of approximately 450 kilometers above Earth’s surface, providing it with a vantage point for various imaging and surveillance tasks.

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