FunctionSmall-lift space launch vehicle
ManufacturerIslamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Country of originIran
Payload to LEO (500 km)
Mass10 ~ 50 kg
Associated rockets
FamilyDeveloped into Qaem 100
Launch history
Launch sitesShahroud space center
Total launches3
First flight22 April 2020
Last flight27 September 2023
First stage
Diameter1.25 m [2]
Powered byGhadr
Maximum thrust~ 30,000 kilograms-force (290,000 N; 66,000 lbf)
Burn time103 seconds
Second stage
Diameter1 m
Powered bySalman
Burn time60 seconds
Third stage
Diameter1 m
Powered byUnnamed IRGC motor

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]


Qased is a three stage rocket. Its 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 nozzle 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 (IRGC) Aerospace force rather than the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) 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 Middle 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 repercussions 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 Reconnaissance Satellite Success 444 x 426 km orbit, 59.8 degree inclination[2]
2 8 March 2022, 05:06 Noor 2 Reconnaissance Satellite Success 495 x 513 km orbit, 58.3 degree inclination[12][13]
3 27 September 2023, 06:00 Noor 3 Reconnaissance Satellite Success 442 x 456 km orbit, 60.0 degree inclination[14]


See also

Other Iranian satellite launch vehicles


  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?". Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  8. ^ "Qased". 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] (March 8, 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.
  14. ^ Jonathan McDowell [@planet4589] (September 27, 2023). "LAUNCH of the Noor 3 spy satellite on a Qased launch vehicle by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corp. Space Force cataloged 2 objects in 442 x 456 km x 60.0 deg orbit consistent with launch from Shahroud at 0600 UTC (+- 5 min)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.