Space Launch Report:  Safir Data Sheet
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safir209.jpg (7116 bytes)Safir

Vehicle Configurations

Vehicle Components

Launch History

On February 2, 2009, Iran joined the "Space Club", becoming the ninth nation to successfully orbit a satellite using its own launch vehicle.  The rocket that performed the historic launch, boosting a 25-27 kg satellite named Omid ("Hope") into a 245 x 378 km x 55.51 deg orbit, was named Safir ("Ambassador"). 

Safir is believed to have been derived from Iran's Shahab ("Shooting Star") 3 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) series, itself thought to have been based on North Korea's No Dong missile.

Safir stands approximately 22 meters tall, is about 1.35 meters in diameter, and is believed to weigh 26-27 tonnes at liftoff.  It is thought to use two liquid propellant stages.  When two stages are used, payload capability is limited to a few 10s of kg.  A small third stage kick motor would allow payloads of perhaps 200 kg or more.     

Safir flies from a new launch site in the Dasht-e-Kavir desert southeast of Semnan, Iran near 35.23 N, 53.92 E.  The road-mobile rocket is erected by a transporter-erector next to a retractable umbilical tower on a flat pad.   The tower, which is retracted shortly before launch, is used to fuel the rocket and to provide arming access to the vehicle and payload.  Launches are aimed toward the southeast, toward the Arabian Sea.

Safirs.jpg (7686 bytes)Iran's satellite launch ambitions became apparant On February 4, 2008, when it flew a single-stage Safir precursor named "Kavoshgar", inaugurating the Semnan launch site.  Kavoshgar appeared to be little more than a modified Shahab 3(C) missile on a suborbital mission, but Iranian state media initially reported that it had launched a satellite.  A published photograph of Iranian leaders standing next to a mockup of a taller two-stage Safir rocket added to the confusion.         

Safir is believed to have flown for the first time on August 16, 2008.  Again, Iran media reported that a satellite launch had occurred, but U.S. defense offiicals said that the launch had failed after the first stage had completed its burn, with components of the rocket reaching 150 km before falling back to earth.  The flight may have been a failed attempt to orbit a satellite.   Lettering on the side of the rocket spelled out "Safir Omid IRILV".   The successful February 2 flight was performed by a rocket sporting lettering spelling out "Safir Omid (2) IRILV", an identification consistent with a second orbital attempt. 

The precise details of Safir's design are unknown outside Iran.  The first stage is believed to use a single fixed turbopump-fed thrust chamber of 30-34 tonnes sea-level thrust.  Four graphite vanes extend into the exhaust to provide steering.  Propellants may include unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine or a kerosene/gasoline mix burned with a storable oxidizer.  The second stage may use similar propellants, burned in a cluster of smaller thrust chambers (perhaps four chambers producing 500 kgf each) that might be fed by a single turbopump.

Safir may be the first step toward an operational small launch vehicle, or it may be a pathfinder for a more powerful vehicle. 


safir209.jpg (7116 bytes)Iran Joins Space Club with First Orbital Launch Success

Iran became the ninth nation to successfully orbit a satellite using its own launch vehicle on February 2, 2009 when a Safir rocket launched a small satellite named Omid ("Hope") into orbit.   The flight, believed to have begun with a liftoff at about 18:34 UTC, originated in the desert near Semnan, Iran.   The 22 meter tall, 27 tonne Safir rocket, believed to be a derivative of Iran's Shahab 3 intermediate range ballistic missile, carried the 25 kg, 0.4 meter cube-shaped satellite into a 245 x 378 km x 55.51 deg orbit.  

The rocket's upper stage, shown by Iranian video to be the second of two stages,  also entered orbit.  Some analysts questioned whether a rocket of this design could orbit a satellite without using a small third stage motor.

Iran performed a previous Safir launch on August 16, 2008, an attempt that U.S. authorities reported to have ended with a second stage failure at an altitude of 150 km.  The successful February 2 flight was performed by a rocket sporting lettering spelling out "Safir Omid (2) IRILV", an identification consistent with a second orbital attempt. 


safir3.jpg (11108 bytes)Iran Orbits Second Satellite

Iran used its two-stage Safir launch vehicle to successfully orbit its second satellite, named Rassad (Observation), on June 15, 2011.  The launch took place from the Dasht-e-Kavir desert southeast of Semnan, Iran

Rassad was tracked in a 236 x 299 km x 55.7 deg orbit along with the second stage, although Iranian reports said that the satellite was expected to enter a 260 km orbit.  The satellite, reported to weigh 15.3 kg, carries an Earth imager and is powered by solar panels.

Iran launched its first satellite
, Omid (Hope), in 2009, which made it the ninth country to join the "Space Club".  The success followed an initial Safir launch failure in 2008.

Iran's Safir launcher is believed to have been derived from Iran's Shahab ("Shooting Star") 3 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) series, itself thought to have been based on North Korea's No Dong missile.   The road-mobile rocket is erected by a transporter-erector next to a retractable umbilical tower on a flat pad.  The tower, which is retracted shortly before launch, is used to fuel the rocket and to provide arming access to the vehicle and payload.   Launches are aimed toward the southeast, toward the Arabian Sea.

safir04.jpg (8090 bytes)Iran Orbits Third Satellite

Iran performed its fourth Earth orbiting satellite attempt using its Safir launch vehicle on February 3, 2012.  The home-built Navid-e Elm-o Sanat satellite, fitted with an imaging payload, reportedly weighed 50 kg.  Safir lifted off from the Dasht-e-Kavir desert southeast of Semnan, Iran at about 00:04 UTC and boosted Navid-e Elm-o Sanat into a 375 x 276 km x 56 deg orbit. 

Iran launched its first satellite, Omid (Hope), in 2009, which made it the ninth country to join the "Space Club".  A second success occurred in 2011 when a Safir orbited the Rassad satellite.   The successes followed an initial Safir launch failure in 2008.

Iran's Safir launcher is believed to have been derived from Iran's Shahab ("Shooting Star") 3 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) series, itself thought to have been based on North Korea's No Dong missile.    The road-mobile rocket is erected by a transporter-erector next to a retractable umbilical tower on a flat pad.  The tower, which is retracted shortly before launch, is used to fuel the rocket and to provide arming access to the vehicle and payload.   Launches are aimed toward the southeast, toward the Arabian Sea.

This was the first "Safir 1B", which used a slightly stretched first stage.

safir2315a.jpg (17298 bytes)Iran Orbits Satellite (February 02, 2015)

Iran achieved its fourth successful orbital launch on February 2, 2015, when a Safir 1B lofted a 50 kg satellite named "Fajr" ("Dawn") into low earth orbit from a base in the Dasht-e-Kavir desert southeast of Semnan.  Iran did not announce the liftoff time, which was estimated by outsiders to have been approximately 08:50 UTC.

The two-stage rocket operated for about 8 minutes to reach orbit. Fajr was tracked in a 224 x 470 km x 55.53 deg orbit.


safir2315b.jpg (7095 bytes)Fajr is Iran’s fourth satellite. Previous successful missions, all performed by Safir boosters, took place in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Two unannounced, suspected launch failures may have occurred during 2012.

Safir is derived from Iran's Shahab 3 ballistic missile.

Vehicle Configurations (Estimates)

LEO
Payload
(metric tons)
250 km x
55 deg
Configuration LIftoff Height
(meters)
Liftoff Mass
(metric tons)
Safir 0.03 t Two Stage Safir ~22 m ~26-27 t
Safir 0.2 t Two Stage Safir with Small 3rd Stage Kick Motor ~22 m ~26-27 t


Vehicle Components (Estimates Only)

  Safir Stage 1 Safir Stage 2 Safir Kick Motor Stg 3 PLF
Diameter (m) 1.35 m 1.35 m ? 1.35 m
Length (m) 17.0 m 3.2 m ? 1.8 m
Propellant Mass (tons) 21.4 t 2.7 t ?  
Total Mass (tons) 24 t 3 t ? ~0.1 t
Engine        
Engine Mfgr        
Fuel UDMH? UDMH? Solid?  
Oxidizer N2O4? N2O4?    
Thrust
(SL tons)
30-34 t      
Thrust
(Vac tons)
  2 t    
ISP (SL sec) 226 s      
ISP (Vac sec) 264 s 290 s 285 s  
Burn Time (sec) 160 s 390 s    
No. Engines 1 1 (4+ chambers)    

 

LAUNCH HISTORY

=========================================================================
                          SPACE LAUNCH REPORT

                 SAFIR 1 ORBITAL/SUBORBITAL LAUNCH LOG
=========================================================================

DATE              VEHICLE ID PAYLOAD               MASS(t) SITE* ORBIT**
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
02/04/08 Safir 1            Shahab 3C suborb. test         SE 1  SUB [0]
08/16/08 Safir 1   OES0001  Omid Dummysat?          0.025? SE 1 [FTO][4]
02/02/09 Safir 1   GBS0092  Omid (2)                0.025  SE 1  LEO
06/15/11 Safir 1   UIS0001  Rassad                  0.015  SE 1  LEO
02/03/12 Safir 1B  ERS2002  Navid-e Elm-o Sanat     0.05   SE 1  LEO
05/23/12 Safir 1B           Fajr?                   0.05?  SE 1 [FTO][7]
09/22/12 Safir 1B           Fajr?                   0.05?  SE 1 [FTO][7]
02/17/15 Safir 1B           Fajr?                   0.05?  SE 1 [FTO][8]
02/02/15 Safir 1B  LBS2001  Fajr                    0.05   SE 1  LEO
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

[0] Test of Iran's Safir launch vehicle. Some claim test failed at staging 
     at 90 sec.

[4] Uncertain if this was an Iranian satellite orbital launch attempt or a 
     suborbital test flight. Safir IRILV consists of two liquid stages with 
     a possible small third kick stage that may or may not have flown on 
     this flight. At any rate, a failure occurred during second stage 
     flight, according to U.S. Navy observers.
[7] Failures not reported by Iran. Suspected failures based on satellite 
     imagery analyzed by Jane's Defence Weekly. 
[8] Failure not reported by Iran. Suspected failure based on commercial 
     satellite imagery, but less consensus on this suspected failure than 
     on 2012 failures.
=============================================================================


References

www.globalsecurity.com
www.armscontrolwonk.com

 Last Update:  February 06, 2015