According to this Strategypage.com post, Iran’s space program is growing because of the restrictions placed on what it can buy from other countries. Example: Iran has just announced they’ve built their own satellites, which is interesting, but shouldn’t be surprising. They do have a very educated population, are industrialized, and have shown determination to stay in the space arena. Why would we think restrictions will keep human ingenuity from overcoming them? Haven’t we learned anything from the last decade or two of technological innovation in spite of barriers?
The post states there are two satellites: one for communications and the other for imagery. If they’re both Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites, then the communications satellite might have some significant limitations. And the imagery satellite only has 100 meter resolution, which means if the object they’re taking a picture of is as big or bigger than a soccer field, they’ll see it. Not very good then. They are both “Made in Iran” though.
But does that have any meaning in this day and age? The thing is, we now have companies and people building much smaller satellites with better capability. The small satellites are cheaper, too. Private industry, at least in other parts of the world, seems to be coming to the fore. Why didn’t the Iranians go down the route of getting private companies involved, with awards for the first one to do “X,” instead of building these clunkers at a university? What the Iranians have done is to emulate the old, monolithic corporate culture of countries they despise, when they had the opportunity to go their own way.
That would have been more interesting to watch. At least their “Space Monkey” program is fun to read about.