Video of Iranian launch today


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The Iranians have released video of today’s rocket launch.

I’d love a translation of what the crowd is chanting. I would also encourage the engineers in my readership to look at this and tell me if the launch looks right, and if there is any way to judge whether it is an rocket for orbital satellites or a missile. We still have no evidence the rocket successfully put anything in orbit.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has called this launch a breach of a UN resolution forbidding Iran from developing ballistic missiles.

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7 comments

  • wayne

    Time to cause the air-pressure in Iran, to promptly escalate to 6 PSI of overpressure.

  • mike shupp

    They didn’t claim to have launched anything, just that it was a test of a launch vehicle. Beyond that … an ICBM and a launch vehicle are going to look pretty much the same — it’s the END of the trajectory that matters rather than the beginning, after all. And we and the Soviets both used old ICBMs as launchers.

    What strikes my eye … it looks like a launch from a Cape Kennedy-style launch pad. If you want to test an ICBM, you try to fire the thing from a submarine or a hardened ground silo, not from open ground. So yeah, my gut feeling is this was actually a test of a space launch vehicle.

    That said, I’m sure people with professional interest in building missiles for the Iranian military were paying attention, and it’s probably the case that many of the people building this launcher and carrying out operations with it are, or have been, or will be involved with military systems. As to whether that’s duplicity … I reserve judgment. Plenty of American citizens have worked for both NASA and DoD in their professional careers, after all.

  • wodun

    What strikes my eye … it looks like a launch from a Cape Kennedy-style launch pad. If you want to test an ICBM, you try to fire the thing from a submarine or a hardened ground silo, not from open ground.

    But why wouldn’t they do it out in the open? They know there are no consequences and they want everyone to see.

    A submarine launch is probably trickier? But a silo seems trivial to construct compared to the feat of producing a functional ICBM.

  • Tom Billings

    A couple of notable points about the rocket. Its exhaust seems to be what you’d expect from a scud-derived vehicle. That is, it has the bright orange glow of carbon in its exhaust. Many old soviet rockets used a combination of high-grade kerosene from the Baku fields and nitric acid, and showed this sort of exhaust spectrum. Much of North Korea’s development has been based on scud-derived vehicles.

    In addition, the first stage had the same multi-engine propulsion shown by several North Korean launches. So no one should be surprised that the cooperation of the Kim Dynasty and the Khomeinists has borne fruit. The shape of the first stage also seems to match well with North Korean designs.

    I doubt this was an operational test of a military version, but it certainly can be a military rocket with a second and third stage added on top. That, BTW, is why it would not be launched from a silo or ship or sub. The added stages, *and* any payload, would require careful handling and servicing, which needs the collection of equipment we saw in the launch towers assembled around the rocket.

    Note that the horizontal loading of payload, and the careful design of the 2 stages of the Falcon 9, needs far less on-pad handling of the payload and upper stage than displayed in this video. That is an indicator for the Iranian launch that we have a military bird, modified to lift satellite payloads.

  • mike shupp

    Woden: Two ways to win a nuclear war. (1) Attack first and smash your opponent’s cities and all his military forces you can see, so his military and economic strength is much reduced relative to your own. (2) Attack last, when your opponent’s force has been expended, and smash up the cities and armed forces he has preserved through the conflict. Think of them as Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima strategies.

    Pearl Harbor strategies are NOT wonderful, since they promote escalation of threats in conflict situations, which can lead to all out wars. Being able to ride out a war and still be strong enough to determine the final outcome is far more desirable, and much less likely to cause escalation. Of course, such a strategy requires an extremely large weapons stockpile (expensive!) or methods of protecting a smaller stockpile from surprise attacks (submarines or silos or aircraft). So taking several days to launch a missile from an above-ground open site isn’t much of a test of military preparedness — the capability you really want to have and to advertise to your foes is launching from a submarine or silo at the drop of a hat.

    This is — or used to be — first year ROTC material.

  • wodun

    So taking several days to launch a missile from an above-ground open site isn’t much of a test of military preparedness

    True but that assumes a functional and developed system. I am saying they are doing their development out in the open, not that the finished system will look like this test.

  • Edward

    mike shupp noted: “ … an ICBM and a launch vehicle are going to look pretty much the same — it’s the END of the trajectory that matters rather than the beginning, after all.

    Another factor is whether the ICBM warhead can survive reentry. That is part of the end of the trajectory that matters. As I recall, the German V2 could rise up 200 kilometers and come down without a heat shield, successfully delivering its warhead.

    A couple of weeks ago, someone here asked how high a payload (or sounding rocket?) could go before it would be damaged by reentry. I did a little calculation — based upon some questionable assumptions — and concluded that the answer may be around 1,000 kilometers. It would seem that any country that has not yet developed reentry technology would have to limit the power and range of its ICBM.

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