Qased
Qased SLV first launch 08.jpg
FunctionSmall-lift space launch vehicle
ManufacturerIslamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Country of origin Iran
Size
Stages3[1]
Capacity
Payload to LEO
(500 km)
Mass10 ~ 50 kg
Launch history
StatusActive
Total launches2
Success(es)2
Failure(s)0
First flight22 April 2020
Last flight8 March 2022
First stage
Diameter1.25 m [2]
Powered byGhadr
Maximum thrust~ 30,000 kilograms-force (290,000 N; 66,000 lbf)
Burn time103 seconds
PropellantUDMH/N2O4
Second stage
Diameter1 m
Powered bySalman
Burn time60 seconds
Propellantsolid
Third stage
Diameter1 m
Powered byUnnamed IRGC motor
Propellantsolid

The Qased (also Ghased, Persian: قاصد, lit.'messenger') rocket is an Iranian expendable small-lift orbital space launch vehicle. It made its maiden flight in 2020, lofting Iran's first military satellite named Noor (Persian: نور, lit.'light') into orbit.[3][4][5]

Design

Qased's first stage is propelled by a Ghadr medium range ballistic missile with a diameter of 1.25 meters (4 ft 1 in), burning UDMH and N2O4 for 103 seconds and an approximate thrust of 30,000 kilograms-force (290 kN; 66,000 lbf), although Qased's application of the proven Ghadr as its first stage is limited to the first launches and subsequent launches are to utilize a solid fueled first stage. The 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) diameter second stage is the solid fueled Salman with a lightweight carbon fiber composite casing, a flexible noozle with thrust vectoring capability, and a burn time of 60 seconds. The third stage was erroneously believed to be a Saman-1 upper stage with an Arash-24 solid fuel motor with a burn time of 40 seconds.[6][7][8][9] Later publicly revealed images revealed it was a specific system developed by the IRGC.[10]

Strategic implications

The launcher is notable as it is operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace force rather than the Iranian Space Agency and is small enough to be launched from a transporter erector launcher.[2] The launch unveiled a full-blown parallel military space program separate from the ISA, with separate development paths and solid fueled launch vehicles, as opposed to the ISA's liquid fueled rockets.[6][7]

In terms of the Noor satellite itself, the launch does not fundamentally change the security equations in the middles east, however the unveiling of the IRGC space program and its emphasis towards solid fueled launch vehicles (which are more military viable than Iran's previous liquid fueled launchers like the Simorgh) might indicate Iran's hedging strategy to acquire ICBM technology without the security reprecusions of openly attempting to do so.[11]

Launch history

Flight No. Date & Time (UTC) Payload Type Outcome Remarks
1 22 April 2020, 04:00 Noor 1 Success 444 x 426 km orbit, 59.8 degree inclination[2]
2 8 March 2022, 05:06 Noor 2 Success 495 x 513 km orbit, 58.3 degree inclination[12][13]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Borger, Julian (2020-04-22). "Iran reportedly launches first military satellite as Trump makes threats". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  2. ^ a b c David Todd (2020-04-22). "Iran launches new Qased rocket type with Noor military sat aboard". SpaceTrak. Seradata. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  3. ^ Stephen Clark (2020-04-22). "Iran places military satellite in orbit". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  4. ^ Loren Grush (2020-04-22). "Iran claims it has successfully launched a military satellite". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  5. ^ "Iran launches its first military satellite". Al Jazeera. 2020-04-22. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  6. ^ a b "The IRGC gets into the space-launch business". IISS. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  7. ^ a b "Have Iran's space ambitions taken a worrisome new turn?". www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  8. ^ "Qased". www.b14643.de. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  9. ^ Hitchens, Theresa (2020-06-29). "New Iranian Missile Could Strike Central Europe: Analysis". Breaking Defense. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  10. ^ "رمزگشایی از مرحله سوم ماهواره‌برهای سپاه/ برگ برنده‌ای که ارتفاع مداری ماهواره‌های ایران را دوبرابر کرد- اخبار نظامی | دفاعی | امنیتی - اخبار سیاسی تسنیم | Tasnim". خبرگزاری تسنیم | Tasnim (in Persian). Retrieved 2022-06-26.
  11. ^ Sheldon, John (2020-05-12). "#SpaceWatchGL Perspectives On Iran's Satellite Launch: Fabian Hinz On The Qased Satellite Launch Vehicle". SpaceWatch.Global. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  12. ^ McDowell, Jonathan [@planet4589] (8 March 2022). "Iran's IRGC missile forces (سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی,) launched the second Qased launch vehicle at aroud 0506 UTC Mar 8, placing the Noor 2 satellite in a 495 x 513 km x 58.3 deg orbit" (Tweet). Retrieved 8 March 2022 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ "Iran puts second military satellite into orbit - Tasnim". Reuters. 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.