February 05, 2010 12:38
A rocket launched by Iran on Wednesday was made in the North Korean style, a South Korean expert claims. Chae Yeon-seok, a former president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, said Thursday the rocket engine, as publicized by the state-run IRNA news agency, seems to be the same as North Korea's Rodong missile, though Tehran claims it was made with indigenous technology.
Iran successfully tested the satellite rocket Kavoshgar-3 on Wednesday. It has four engines tied up together with a thrust of 128 tons. "The Safir-2 launched by Iran last year had one engine for Rodong missiles, which have a thrust of 32 tons. From the appearance, the engine of the Kavoshgar-3 seems to consist of four engines used in the Safir-2 with four times the thrust, Chae said. "It seems to have the same propulsion system as the Unha-2, an expendable carrier rocket launched by North Korea last year."
Iran also publicized the specifications of its next-generation satellite rocket Simorgh on Wednesday. Chae said since the Simorgh has 143 tons of thrust, that would be four 32-ton Rodong engines plus a small 15 ton-thrust engine.
According to Chae, the propulsion system of the Simorgh is an upgraded version of the Unha-2. Experts say the Unha-2 used a jet-vane system, which places heat-resistant graphite wings at the aft portion of a missile instead of a control rocket. "Making a rocket engine is difficult as it needs to endure high temperature and high pressure at altitudes of several hundred km," Chae said. "It seems that North Korea acquired the know-how by studying Scud missiles from the Soviet Union, and Iran learned it from North Korea."
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