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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Space Center’

Analysts: Iran Launched New Site to Test Ballistic Missiles

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Weeks after the Iranian government had announced it was building new launch bases for its domestic satellite program, newly published pictures of one such site have led analysts to conclude it was designed to test ballistic missiles rather than launch space rockets, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The new site is close to Iran’s first space center in the northern Semnan province. A picture of the base published by IHS Jane’s Military and Security Assessments shows a 70 ft. tall launch tower sitting on a 600 by 420 ft. launch pad. The picture also shows a 375 ft. long exhaust deflector.

The Telegraph quotes analysts who say they base their speculation on the fact that the unfinished site, located 25 miles south east of the city of Shahrud, does not include a storage facility for the liquid rocket fuel which is used in the Iranian space program. This would suggest that the base is being built for ballistic missiles, which use solid fuel.

Matthew Clements, who edited these assessments, said: “This site could be a facility for launching satellites into orbit. However, Iran is already building at least one other site for this purpose and, looking at the satellite imagery we have got, we believe that this facility is most likely used for testing ballistic missiles. Its location and orientation would be suitable for long-range missile tests as they would fly over Iranian territory for 870 miles, meaning large quantities of flight data could be gathered before they drop into the Indian Ocean.”

“At the same time,” Clements added, “we can’t see any storage facilities for the liquid fuel needed for the rockets that launch satellites, suggesting it will be used for solid-fuel ballistic missiles.”

He also said there was no indication that the base was a nuclear facility.

In July, Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammad Hassan Nami announced that Iran is planning to launch several new space centers to “monitor and observe different space objects and satellites passing through the country’s atmosphere,” and introduced the new space center in Semnan province.

“We are building other centers too and we are trying to have a powerful start,” he added.

But if the entire project turns out to be a ruse intended to hide Iran’s efforts to produce a missile with the range to hit Tel-Aviv, it would be the first time such a ruse was attempted using a monkey.

In January, Iran’s Aerospace Industries announced that it has sent a monkey into space on the back of Pishgam (Pioneer) explorer rocket, and that the monkey came back.

Aerospace Industries said it was planning to send humans into space.

But Shashank Joshi, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute who has written about the Iranian missile program, told the Telegraph Iran’s actual plans are far more sinister: “We often talk about Iran’s nuclear program,” Joshi said, “but what really spooks countries in the region is the ballistic missiles that could act as a delivery system.”

He said Iran had been laboring to develop solid fuel rockets which are quicker to deploy than liquid fuel versions. He commented: “If you look at why their missile program has been so slow, one reason is their difficulties with solid fuel. A testing site which helps in that regard is concerning. Testing is critical. You don’t improve missiles until you test them.”

An American Odyssey (Part 3)

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

After a good meal in Houston Thursday night, we spent the evening at the Quality Inn near the Space Center. Early Friday morning we left for the Space Center so that we could get an early start before Shabbat. I had worked for a while as a consultant at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and I found the exhibits at the center in Houston to be very interesting. We took both tram rides, met an astronaut, saw the IMAX show and the Starship Gallery, and visited as many exhibits as possible. We then headed back to town to prepare for Shabbat. During our first week on the road we had travelled over 1,800 miles, from Florida through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to Texas.

Dov and Barbara Gilor at the Houston Space Center.

Prior to leaving New York, we had purchased a few dozen La Briute self-cooking meals and Meal Mart microwave meals for the trip, but there is nothing like “home-cooked” meals after the packaged variety. The La Briute meals were very convenient and better than airline food, but not much better.

The hospitality of the Houston Jewish community was the warmest of all of the communities we visited. Our hostess, Helen Feintuch, welcomed us and led us to her washer and drier so that we could make sure that I had a white shirt for Shabbat. My wife, Barbara, had asked our other hostess, Sandy Friedman, to order kosher roast chickens and cooked meat for our meals during the coming week’s travels. After leaving my brother Avi and me to handle the laundry, Barbara and Avi’s wife, Martha, drove to pick up the order, cut it up and package individual meals for the next few days of our trip. (We had a large cooler in the van which we kept filled with ice for those items that had to be refrigerated.)

We davened at the Young Israel of Houston and enjoyed Rabbi Yehoshua Wender’s d’rashot. We ate our Shabbat meal that evening with the Friedmans and we learned a great deal about the Houston Jewish community and its growth. Our friends, Howard and Florence Kushner, who we had met several years ago when they came to Israel for Pesach, were also guests that evening, along with Karen and Steve Rosenblatt. It was a very interesting and enjoyable evening with lots of laughs and stories.

(L-R) Avi and Martha Gittler, Howie and Helen Feintuch, Barbara and Dov Gilor in front of the Feintuch home in Houston.

After Shabbat morning davening at the Young Israel, we joined Helen and Howie and the Feintuch family and their other guests for lunch. They had invited Suzie and Jeff Goldstein (of Suzie’s Grill) with their twins who had just returned from a year in Israel. Gedalia and Judy Pollack joined us with two others from Israel, Avi Lin from Raanana and Zev Gross from Kfar Saba. It was a very lively lunch and we all enjoyed ourselves.

After Minchah, I was invited to speak to the Young Israel community about life in our settlement community and answered many questions from the members.

After Havdalah, besides doing more loads of laundry, we socialized and learned about the Houston community. We were amazed to learn that some of the beautiful homes with swimming pools we visited had cost under $200,000, while in Israel a four-room apartment costs more than that.

We had planned to rush off the next morning to continue our trip, but the hospitality was so warm and the conversation so interesting that we did not get moving until after 11:00. We then headed for the Alamo.

(To be continued)

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/focus-israel/an-american-odyssey-part-3/2012/01/11/

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