Iran launches satellite into orbit

February 3, 2009 4:21:54 PM PST
ran's launch of a satellite into orbit may not represent any great strides in technology.

According to a U.S. counterproliferation official, the satellite technology being used "isn't too far removed from Sputnik", which was the first orbiter launched by the Soviets in 1957.

Still, the U.S. and other world powers are worried, because the same rocket technology that can launch satellites can also deliver warheads. The State Department is accusing Iran of using the launch program as a stepping stone toward developing long-range ballistic missiles.

Iran has been trying for nearly a decade to develop a national space program. State radio says the telecommunications satellite was launched late yesterday after Iran's president gave the order to proceed.

The White House is criticizing the launch. A spokesman says it doesn't suggest that Iran is "acting responsibility to advance stability or security in the region."