US doubts Iranian space launch claim
Feb 26 2:47 PM US/Eastern
The US military has no evidence to corroborate an Iranian claim that it fired a rocket into space and suspects that the event never happened, a US defense official said Monday.
Iranian space officials said Sunday they launched a "sounding rocket" into space for research purposes, reaching an altitude of 150 kilometers (93 miles). They said the rocket did not go into orbit.
"We have no indication that that's true," a US defense official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Nothing we've come up with would indicate that's happened."
The official said it was highly unlikely that such a space shot would have gone undetected by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which monitors missile launches worldwide.
"Even our training launches are recorded," the official said. "There was nothing on this one."
"The intelligence assessments points to that the event didn't happen," the official said.
Iran's state television announced what it said was Iran's first successful space launch.
"The rocket was carrying material intended for research created by the ministries of science and defense," Mohsen Bahrami, the head of Iran's aerospace research center, told the channel.
The Fars news agency quoted Ali Akbar Golrou, deputy head of the center, as saying the "sounding rocket" reached an altitude of 150 kilometers (93 miles) but fell back to earth without going into orbit.