GEOINT | Iranian Space Agency's Imam Khomeini Satellite Launch Center at Semnan

GEOINT | Iranian Space Agency's Imam Khomeini Satellite Launch Center at Semnan

By IndraStra Global Editorial Team


On occasion of the inaugural launch of Iran's first Safir-class sub-orbital rocket called Kavoshgar-1 (Explorer-1), Iran unveiled on February 4, 2008, the first Satellite Launch Center in Semnan, also known as Imam Khomeini Satellite Launch Center.  The facility includes an underground command and control center, a tracking station and a launch pad among other structures.The Safir rocket itself  appeared to be a modified Shahab-3B. 

Construction of the complex reportedly began in 2003. Satellite images taken of the site in 2009 show extensive infrastructure development including the construction of a horizontal rocket assembly and checkout building, and an engine test stand. .

This particular Iranian Space Port is located in the province of Semnan about 230 km southeast of Teheran. The coordinates of the Centre are at 35.234°N 53.921°E Google Earth pictures in this area show specific locations.



In March 2010, satellite images revealed the construction of a second launch pad roughly 3 km east of the original site. It includes a gantry tower, an umbilical tower, and two flame trenches. The gantry tower is approximately 45m tall, which far exceeds the needs of the Safir or Simorgh SLVs.

Image Attribute: First Launch Pad / Safir-Class Launch Pad / Source: Google Earth

Image Attribute: First Launch Pad / Safir-Class Launch Pad / Source: Google Earth

In March 2011, Jane's Information Group reported on the basis of its satellite imagery analysis of Iranian space launch sites that Iran is aggressively building complex facilities with very rapid pace showing the nation's inclinations towards space readiness. This facility also consists of engine test stand, suggesting it will test new or indigenous designs.

 Image Attribute: Rocket Engine Test Stand Complex, Semnan / Source: Google Earth

Image Attribute: Rocket Engine Test Stand Complex, Semnan / Source: Google Earth

 Image Attribute: Mission Support Complex, Semnan / Source: Google Earth

Image Attribute: Mission Support Complex, Semnan / Source: Google Earth

The orbital inclination of the satellite is about 55°. From the launch center, the satellite would have to be launched either on a South East trajectory or on a North East trajectory over Central Asian territory.

The available orbital information is suggestive of a South East launch even though our preliminary check has not located the standard range safety notifications for this region. The earlier Shahab / Shahab 3 missile tests would have proved the reliability of the first stage as well as issues concerned with the stage impact and range safety parameters and provided the necessary measure of confidence. A launch in this direction (as well as that in a north east direction) also accounts for an additional velocity of about 250 metres per second arising from the earth’s rotation. [Source: ISSSP Report]

The new facility of the Imam Khomeini Space Launch Center is located 2600 m northeast from the Safir launch pad.

Image Attribute: Second Launch Pad / Safir-Class Launch Pad / Source: Google Earth

Image Attribute: Second Launch Pad / Safir-Class Launch Pad / Source: Google Earth

IHS Jane's Semnan Second Launch Pad

AIDN: 001-11-2015-0467

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