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NPR: Imagery Shows Iran Preparing For Third Space Launch

A Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite rocket is launched at an undisclosed location in Iran in July 2017.

Iran may be preparing a third attempt this year to launch a space rocket, U.S. National Public Radio reports, citing satellite imagery it received from the commercial company Planet.

The published image taken on August 24 shows Iran’s launchpad has been freshly painted bright blue at the Imam Khomeini Space Center.

Earlier, it had a burn scar from a previous launch attempt that failed and had been covered in debris.

Other imagery shows vehicle movement at a building nearby where Iran assembles rockets.

Iran's Mehr news agency has reported that Iran could have three satellites ready for launch by March 2020.

Mehr reported that a communications satellite is currently ready for launch.

Attempts to launch space rockets in January and February failed.

After the failed January launch, the United States said that Iran’s space rockets also further the nation’s ballistic-missile program.

"Such vehicles incorporate technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said then in a statement.

Based on reporting by NPR and Mehr