Iran Accelerates Space And Missile Launch Projects

 Iran is rapidly and significantly expanding capabilities to
accommodate larger missiles and satellite launch vehicles (SLVs),
including the Simorgh 3 SLV in construction at Semnan space centre,
according to Jane’s analysis of satellite imagery of the site.
The construction begun in mid-2010 is aggressive even by Iranian
standards, with a number of very complex facilities nearing external
completion only months after they were started. The site is likely to
assume operational readiness by 2013, judging by the pace of
construction. Rapid construction – which prevents extended overhead
analysis – could underscore the secretive nature of the site, the
strategic importance of the facilities, and Iran’s inclinations towards
space readiness.
The first new project is at the launch/engine test facility, where a
launch pad or engine test stand is in the early stages of construction.
The flame trench that funnels rocket blast exhaust away from the tower
is roughly the same size and shape as one first identified by Jane’s in 2010, but is situated 73 m to the north.
Elements at the second site are identical to the flame trench and
auxiliary pad at the first, but construction of the second tower had not
commenced as of 9 March 2011. The first tower is still under
construction but should be finished by the end of the year; that pace
suggests that the second tower will likely be completed by 2013.
Although Jane’s previously suggested that this tower could be
either a launch facility or engine test site, the towers will likely be
used primarily for testing.