Russia launches Iranian satellite into space amid fears it could be used to spy on Ukraine


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Russia launched an Iranian satellite into space on Tuesday, just weeks after Moscow announced plans to abandon the International Space Station within the next two years.

The launch from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan put the Khayyam satellite into orbit.

Iran claims the satellite, named after a 12th-century Persian scientist, will be used to improve agricultural productivity, but Russia uses it to monitor Ukraine and Tehran has raised fears it could be used to monitor Israel.

In this handout photo taken from a video released by Roscosmos on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, a Russian Soyuz rocket lifts the Iran Khayyam satellite into orbit at the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome near Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
(Roscosmos via AP)

Two Western security officials told The Washington Post last week that Moscow told Iran it would use a high-resolution camera on a satellite to monitor military targets in Ukraine for “several months.”

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The official told the paper that the satellite would eventually give Iran “unprecedented capabilities” to monitor sensitive facilities in Israel and other parts of the Middle East.

The launch comes as cooperation in space between Russia and the West breaks down amid Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.

In this Dec. 6, 2021, file photo provided by NASA, the International Space Station orbits 264 miles above the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship docked to the Rossvet module and Prechal module, still attached to the Progress delivery craft docked to the Naval Multipurpose Module.

In this Dec. 6, 2021, file photo provided by NASA, the International Space Station orbits 264 miles above the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship docked to the Rossvet module and Prechal module, still attached to the Progress delivery craft docked to the Naval Multipurpose Module.
(via NASA AP, file)

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Yuri Borisov, the recently appointed head of Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos, said last month that Russia would leave the International Space Station within the next two years.

“The decision was made to leave the station after 2024,” Borissov said in late July, noting that Russia would fulfill its partner commitments before departure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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