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Russian rocket to launch Iranian satellite

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Russian rocket to launch Iranian satellite

Photo: ITAR-TASS/ITAR-TASS/Landov

An Iranian Khayyam satellite will be launched onboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikanur cosmodrome today.

This launch follows a previous manned mission in March, with further launches scheduled. Baikanur’s pace of activity highlights how western sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine have had minimal impact on Russia’s space program.

The Khayyam launch also illustrates the close relationship between the Russian and Iranian governments. While this is not the first time Iran has used a Russian rocket for its satellite program, this launch comes as Russia shores up an increasingly small roster of allies. Consequently, Iran can benefit from superior Russian rocket technology. Iran denied reports that Russia would be able to use the imagery satellite to support its tactical military efforts against Ukraine before handing control over to the Iranians.

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The Russian space agency Roscomos is increasingly isolated from western partners and must find new avenues for cooperation and burden-sharing. By increasing cooperation with Iran and other friendly nations, expect Russia to continue to be a leader in space exploration, presenting itself as an alternative to western space programs. Pro-Russia countries, such as Myanmar, which have nascent space programs, will stand to benefit from this development.

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