Flashpoints

Satellite photos show burning Iran space center launch pad

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Satellite images appear to show the smoldering remains of a rocket at an Iranian space center that was to conduct a U.S.-criticized satellite launch.

The satellite pictures were taken Thursday morning of the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province.

The photos show black smoke and part of a painted launch pad apparently scorched away.

This Aug. 9, 2019, satellite image shows activity at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province. (Planet Labs Inc, Middlebury Institute of International Studies via AP)
Images show Iran satellite launch looms despite US criticism

Iran appears to be preparing another satellite launch after twice failing this year to put one in orbit, despite U.S. accusations that the Islamic Republic’s program helps it develop ballistic missiles.

David Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told The Associated Press: "Whatever happened there, it blew up and you're looking at the smoldering remains of what used to be there."

NPR first reported on the satellite images.

Iran was to launch the Nahid-1 satellite in the coming days. There had been activity at the space center in recent days.

There was no immediate reaction from Iran.

A failed Iranian rocket launch is seen Aug. 29, 2019, at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies)
A failed Iranian rocket launch is seen Aug. 29, 2019, at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies)
A failed Iranian rocket launch is seen Aug. 29, 2019, at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies)
A failed Iranian rocket launch is seen Aug. 29, 2019, at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies)
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