Iran's first space launch
center "Imam Sadegh SLC"
for its "Ghaem SLV" project
Norbert Brügge, Germany
Iran has built a new rocket launch site
which is likely to be used for testing ballistic missiles, military analysts
as saying. Satellite imagery acquired by DigitalGlobe in 2012 and 2013 shows
the construction of the new launch facility located in Semnan province, 40
km southeast of Shahrud. The site has no storage facilities for liquid rocket
fuel needed for rockets that launch satellites, which suggests it is built
for launcher using solid fuel.
Satellite images of the structure, in 2016 published by IHS Jane’s Military
and Security Assessments, shows a movable 23 meters tall launch tower sitting
on a platform measuring 200 x 140m. The images also shows a 125 meters long
exhaust deflector. The launch site is located in a large area with infrastructure.
|Today (2019) it is clear that this is a complex
constructed under the patronage of the IRGC by Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam
for his "Ghaem" project. He and 38 further persons were killed in a mysterious
explosion in 2011. According to the latest estimates, it was sabotage.The
explosion of the development center near Bidganeh destroyed also all know-how.
The ambitious "Ghaem" project aimed to develop a solid-fuel space launch
vehicle. An unique photo illustrating the dimension of a motor has now
been published on social media.
Right: As early as 2004, Moghaddam demonstrated his "Ghaem"
project using a model of the Shahrud-structure.
According to my measurements, the casing of the motor is 2m in diameter
and about 6m long.
According the dimension of the Shahrud service tower and the representation
of the SLV on the logo, I assume that the "Ghaem" should be two-staged.
Similar the U.S. Athena-II, the "Ghaem" then use the same motor for the
first and second stage. The "Super-Ghaem" is a myth.
This model of a Ghaem SLV shown in 2022
must have been planned for the future. It has a third solid-fuel stage
of 1.5m diameter. The total length of the rocket would have reached about
29 m. The existing mobile gantry would then have had to be increased.
Ghaem motor test
Febr. 2022: Historical
images from a successful launch of a Ghaem motor
April 2020: Moghaddam’s old gantry for its Ghaem project