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Iranian Rocket Blows Up on Launch Pad


Video image from Iranian state TV shows the launch of a rocket carrying a Payam satellite at Imam Khomeini Space Center, a facility under the control of the country's Defense Ministry, in Semnan province, Iran, Jan. 15, 2019.

An Iranian rocket that was supposed to launch a telecommunications satellite into orbit blew up on the launch pad Thursday.

U.S. satellite images of the Imam Khomeini Space Center showed smoke rising from the launch pad and what experts say were the charred remains of a rocket.

Blue paint around the launch site appears to have been burned away.

"It was due to some technical issues and it exploded, but our young scientists are working to fix the problem," an official told Reuters without giving any details.

Iran has denied U.S. accusations that it is planning to adapt the ballistic rockets used to launch satellites for launching missiles.

This was Iran's third failed attempt to launch a satellite this year.

One satellite fired into space in January failed to reach orbit. A month later, another rocket apparently fell into the desert just after liftoff.