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Iran launches first space research center
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Iran launched its first home-built space research center on Monday in Tehran in presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The launch of the first space research unit would be great stride to serve the mankind and would lead to Iran's exaltation and progress," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

The country's first space research center comprises of Omid ( Hope) satellite -- Iran's first homemade research satellite which has been designed and constructed by Iranian experts, IRNA reported.

The Omid satellite will be launched in the near future, it added.

According to Iran's state television, Ahmadinejad, who was accompanied by Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, visited the ground station and the satellite launch pad at the complex, located in Iran Electronics Industries Co. (Sa-Iran) in Tehran.

The project for the Omid satellite took 10 years for the Iranian experts to accomplish and the satellite itself is designed to function in a low earth orbit system, the report said.

In February 2007, Iran joined the international space-faring community when it successfully tested a rocket that went into space as part of its drive to launch five satellites into orbit by 2010, it said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)

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