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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Iran launched a satellite, or did they?

Imam Khomeini Space Center - Iran

A couple of days ago Iran supposedly launched a satellite. Being a suspicious kind of guy I went looking for confirmation and couldn't find any. I checked again this morning and still nothing. Digging a little deeper I started finding stuff related to Iran developing ICBM-s (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles). This is understandable. If you can put something into orbit around the Earth, you can certainly hurl a similar sized chunk of metal halfway around the world. The requirements for both kinds of rockets are very similar.

Iran's Space Launch Center. Zoom out to see nearby associated sites. I think Point 9 was used for the Monday's launch, it's the only one without any tall buildings.

Working from an Israeli news video, I was able to locate Iran's space center. It would have been easier if I had found NTI's video (top) sooner.
    Meanwhile, REAL TIME SATELLITE TRACKING AND PREDICTIONS told me about Space-Track dot org, which is US Government website which is the font of all active satellite tracking data. It requires signing up, which entails agreeing to their terms, and since it's the US Government, you probably should read what you are agreeing to. I looked at it and decided I didn't want to know all that, so I didn't sign. Besides, if automatic posting services like NASA's can't get the info, am I going to have any better luck?

P.S. Embedding a Google map requires more hand work these days. This forum post explains the magic codes you need to make it work. I did this one by trial and error and it took a while. If I had been able to find the latitude and longitude, it would have gone much quicker. That's a medium size 'if'. Besides, I wanted to see if I could do it. Kind of like playing solitaire, but with a purpose.

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