, TEHRAN, Aug 16 – The launch of a new Iranian satellite, which was to take place later this month, has been delayed as the device is still being developed, Telecommunications Minister Reza Taghipour said.
The minister had announced in July that the satellite, Rasad 1 (Observation), which would be Iran\’s second home-built satellite to be sent into space, would be launched in the last week of August.
But Taghipour was cited late Sunday by state television\’s website as saying that the satellite, to be used for transmitting images and weather forecasts, will now be launched in the second half of the current Iranian year to March 2011.
"The launch of Rasad 1 satellite will take place in the second half of this year," Taghipour said.
The second half of the Iranian year begins on September 23.
"The satellite… is itself being developed, although some other stages (involved in the launch) are ready," he added.
Taghipour did not specify when the launch would take place but said its timing would be decided "accurately once the pre-launch testing, which is a lengthy process, is done."
The minister had previously said that within the current Iranian year a number of new satellites capable of transmitting data and images would be launched by the Islamic republic.
Iran in February revealed details of three other new satellite prototypes — the Toloo (Dawn), Navid (Good News) and telecommunications satellite Mesbah-2 (Lantern).
In February 2009, Iran launched its first home-built satellite, the Omid (Hope), to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Earlier this month, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran is working on a three-stage rocket to carry a satellite 1,000 kilometres (more than 600 miles) into space.
He also announced that Iran had plans to put telecommunications satellites in the 35,000-kilometre (about 22,000 miles) orbit — where geostationary satellites are placed — within "five or six years."
Ahmadinejad, under whose presidency Iran has been focussing on scientific development, has also said Tehran plans to send a man into space by 2019.