Iran, photos suggest a US-criticized satellite launch looms

Iranian officials and satellite images suggest the Islamic Republic is preparing to a launch a satellite into space after three major failures last year, the latest for a program which the U.S. claims helps Tehran advance its ballistic missile program. Satellite images from San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc. that have been annotated by experts at Middlebury Institute of International Studies show work at a launchpad at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province. The photos also show more cars and activity at a facility at the spaceport, some 230 kilometers (145 miles) southeast of Iran’s capital, Tehran.