Tuesday, February 11, 2020

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

On Sunday, Iran failed for the fourth time to successfully place a satellite into orbit:

Iranian government officials admitted Sunday that an attempt to place a small Earth-imaging satellite into orbit was unsuccessful, the fourth consecutive launch failure for the country’s space program.

A Simorgh rocket launched at around 1545 GMT (10:45 a.m. EST) Sunday from the Imam Khomeini Spaceport, located in Semnan province in the north-central part of the country, according to Iranian government officials and state media sources.

But the Simorgh booster did not place its payload — an Earth observation satellite named Zafar 1 — into orbit as planned, according to Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s minister of communications and information technology.

The failure Sunday of the Simorgh rocket, the larger of Iran’s two tested satellite launchers, marked the fourth straight Iranian mission that has failed to place a satellite into orbit since 2017. That does not include an accident in August in which a Safir rocket — Iran’s other orbital-class booster — appeared to explode during preparations on a launch pad at the Iranian spaceport.
US and Israeli officials have always been concerned about Iran's attempts to place a satellite into orbit, because the same technology that allows space flight allows intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Did Israeli or US cyberweapons help ruin this mission?

The evidence is light but interesting.

First of all, the consistent failures of the Iranian space program point to more than coincidence and more than Iranian incompetence.

The second interesting thing about what happened last Sunday is that it came close after a massive hacking attack against Iran on Saturday:

Iran was sabotaged with an unprecedented cyber attack on the eve of its failed attempt to launch a satellite into orbit, the regime has claimed.

Last night, a rocket launch from Imam Khomeini Spaceport was scuppered due to low speeds which stopped it breaking into orbit.

It was a humiliating blow to Tehran, which the United States believes is developing rocket technology to advance nuclear capabilities.

But hours before the failure, Iran's deputy information minister Hamid Fatah had revealed the country's communications network had been hit with 'the most widespread attack in Iranian history'.

He tweeted: 'Hackers today launched the most widespread attack in Iranian history against the country's infrastructure.

'Millions of origin targeted millions of destinations and are seeking worldwide disruption to Iran's Internet network'.
The satellite launch was originally intended to be on Saturday, and it was delayed a day - possibly due to this cyberattack, which was even worse than Iran seems to be admitting.

Iran claims that the cyberattack was not done by state actors. However, a massive denial of service attack can help hide an actual targeted cyberattack happening at the same time.

There is another tantalizing piece of evidence that Israel might have been involved in the failure of the launch. At the Likud conference in Nahariya on Sunday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "We were told today that Iran failed to launch a satellite. They also failed to deliver weapons to Syria and Lebanon, because we are constantly operating there."

This could be psychological warfare, or it could be a tacit admission that Israel was involved. However, Iran is clearly getting closer to success in their space program, and there is no reason to assume that this program is not military.

(h/t Tomer Ilan)




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