Fox News' Iran-launched military satellite entered Earth's orbit, US Space Command announces says:

“Iran’s first military satellite, Noor, was launched this morning from central Iran in two stages. The launch was successful and the satellite reached orbit,” Iranian state TV reported, according to Reuters.

but that linked Reuters article Iran says it puts first military satellite into orbit, triggers U.S. condemnation says something different:

Iran’s Guards Corps said it used the Qased, or “Messenger”, carrier to launch Noor.

“The three-stage Qased satellite launcher uses a combination of solid and liquid fuels,” it said.

Question: How many stages were used to put Iran's satellite NOUR 01 (45529) into its orbit?

Related 18SPCS tweet:

#18SPCS tracked 2 objects, NOUR 01 (Sat Catalog No. 45529), QASED Rocket Body (45530) from #space launch originating in Iran. Both placed in our public #SATCAT w @SpaceTrackOrg for #SpaceDomainAwareness, conjunction warnings to support space flight safety.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Scott is here youtu.be/SPTz7Ig9RQE indeed it's a 3staged launch vehicle! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ @NavoneelKarmakar wow there's a lot of information and educated hypothesizing in that video, thanks! If you think there's anything in there that's not covered by the other answers please feel free to write up an answer with the video link and a short description. There's probably the basis of a few more questions in there as well. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 22:10

2 Answers 2


The Ghased/Quased (messenger) launch vehicle is 'probably' ( since we don't have any official reports) a Three staged launcher. Following are the evidences:

The Iranian SLV named Safir was based on the North Korean Unha (which partially utilizes the same delivery system as the Taepodong-2 ICBM) .article

Now Unha is a three staged launch system with the following configuration:1

Stage 1 : Engines:4 Nodong 2-1.
Specific impulse: 252 sec.
Thrust: 1192.8 kN
Burn time: 120 seconds
Fuel: N2O4 / UDMH

Stage 2: Engines:4 verniers.
Specific impulse: 252 sec.
Thrust: 125 kN.
Burn time: 220 seconds
Fuel: N2O4 / UDMH.

Stage 3: Engines:2 verniers.
Specific impulse: 252 sec.
Thrust: 35.4 kN.
Burn time: 245 seconds.
Fuel: N2O4 / UDMH.
Appears to be a kick stage

Can carry 200kg to LEO.

Iranian News Agency suggested that Kavoshgar-1 used a three staged rocket with the first stage separating after 90 seconds and the rocket reaching an orbit between 200 and 250 kilometres.2

Kavoshgar-1 used Safir launch system.

Therefore in all probability they would use a same or better configuration.
This video on twitter seems to reveal the separation ring of the third stages ( although it could be the fairing itself ).

Also notice the specific impulses are weak and so three stages is most likely be used to lunch a 'military satellite' .


The consensus seems to be that it's three-stage, from Gunter's page to armchair analysis on NASASpaceFlight.com to most of the news stories on the launch.

While I'm sure someone's flown a liquid + solid 2STO, it's challenging to get the needed ∆v from such a configuration given the low specific impulse of solids. The liquid propellant stage seems to be based on North Korean technology, with a poor specific impulse around 230 seconds (itself comparable to solids), so a three-stage design seems far more plausible.


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