Jan 28, 2013 16:27 Moscow Time
AFP PHOTO / AL-ALAM TV
According to Iranian TV, Iranian scientists have successfully flown a monkey into space and back. Three years ago, they successfully carried out a similar experiment with worms, tortoises and mice. Both missions were flown by Iranian-made rockets.
The report, citing Iranian Space Agency executive Hamid Fazeli, gave no other details on the timing or location of the launch, but said the monkey returned safely.
According to him, the mission was scheduled to take place between January 31st and February 10th, when Iran celebrates the Islamic Revolution’s 34th year, but the launch was eventually rescheduled to an earlier date.
The Iranian executive noted that “the monkey program will aid our agency in launching a man into space,” which Teheran plans to successfully undertake by 2020.
Iran has launched a rocket carrier that will put a living capsule with a monkey into orbit, Iranian state TV said Monday. It has not been reported whether the launch was successful. In early February 2010, Iran successfully put into space mice, turtles and worms inside a capsule of a Kavoshgar 3 (Explorer) rocket to conduct experiments.
“Iran successfully launched a capsule, codenamed Pishgam (Pioneer), containing a monkey and recovered the shipment on the ground intact,” said the statement by the defence ministry’s aerospace department.
Al-Alam channel said the monkey was “alive” after travelling to an altitude of 120 kilometres (75 miles) for a sub-orbital flight.
Iran announced in mid-January it would try once more to send a monkey into orbit as part of “preparations for sending a man into space,” which is scheduled for 2020.
Iran’s space programme deeply unsettles Western nations, which fear it could be used to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads they suspect are being developed in secret.
Tehran has repeatedly denied that its nuclear and scientific programmes mask military ambitions.
Iran has previously sent a rat, turtles and worms into space.
Voice of Russia, RIA, AFP, Ynetnews