IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


30th September, 2023 Science and Technology

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  • The Noor satellite program, featuring a series of Iranian military Earth-imaging CubeSats, has garnered international attention and sparked debates regarding its implications for regional security and global satellite technology.


Notable Satellites

  • Noor-1, Noor-2, and Noor-3 (Najm) are prominent satellites within this program, each offering unique capabilities and features.
  • Noor satellites operate in low Earth orbits, circling the Earth approximately every 90 minutes.

Achievements and Satellite Details


  • Launched on April 22, 2020, Noor-1 marked Iran's first military satellite.
  • Operated for one year, eleven months, and nine days.
  • Carried imagery of Qassem Soleimani and a Quranic verse.


  • Launched on March 8, 2022.
  • Provides low-resolution overhead imagery for the IRGC.
  • Offers a resolution of 12 to 15 meters.

Noor-3 (Najm)

  • Launched on September 27, 2023, with advanced capabilities.
  • Higher resolution (6 to 4.8 meters) than Noor-2.
  • Rapid stabilization and operational enhancements.


  • The Noor program aims to develop and deploy Iranian military Earth-imaging CubeSats to gather data on Earth's surface and provide valuable intelligence information.


  • The Noor program represents a shift as it is led by the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), distinguishing it from previous Iranian space initiatives.

International Reactions

United States

  • S. officials raised concerns, viewing the satellite program as a provocation.
  • Emphasis on the potential for missile technology development in conjunction with satellite launches.


  • The French Foreign Ministry expressed concerns over the program's implications for regional security and ballistic missile development.


  • Russia criticized the U.S. stance and advocated for Iran's right to peaceful space technology.

Other Stakeholders

  • Regional experts and commentators speculated on the impact of the Noor program on regional dynamics.

Controversies and Image Disputes

Al-Udeid Air Base Claim

  • Iranian state-owned Fars News Agency published an image purportedly taken by Noor satellites, later debunked as a doctored Google Earth image.

U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet Base Image

  • In May 2022, the Iranian Minister of Communication shared an image allegedly captured by Noor-2, but it was subsequently removed from Instagram.


The Noor satellite program represents a significant development in Iran's space capabilities and military intelligence. Its launch and operations have drawn international attention, with reactions ranging from security concerns to assertions of Iran's right to space technology. The program's achievements, controversies, and impacts on regional dynamics continue to be subjects of debate and scrutiny on the global stage, highlighting the complex intersection of space technology, geopolitics, and national security.


Q. Which of the following statements is correct regarding the Noor satellite program launched by Iran?

  1. The Noor program is a joint initiative of Iran and Russia for peaceful space exploration.
  2. Noor-1, the first satellite in the program, carried a Quranic verse about overcoming adversaries.
  3. Noor-2, the second satellite, provides high-resolution imagery for weather forecasting.
  4. The Noor program is exclusively led by the Iranian Space Agency.


A) 1 and 2

B) 2 and 3

C) 2 and 4

D) 1 and 4

Correct Answer: