Iran tested a space launch vehicle on Thursday called Simorgh, which can carry satellites into space, state television,, reported. Simorgh means “phoenix” in Persian.

The vehicle is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 250 kg and can place it in an orbit of 500 km, the report said. The launch will be seen as a major\ step forward for the country’s young space program.

The news came less than two weeks after United States criticised Iran’s ballistic missile tests. On July 18, the US administration had issued fresh economic sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missiles programme.

According to a US National Air and Space Intelligence Centre report from June, the Simorgh could act as a test bed for Iran to produce an intercontinental ballistic missile, AP reported.