January 28, 2013
Iran Successful In Space Monkey Mission
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Iran has successfully sent a monkey into space aboard a bio-capsule, opening up the gateway for the country to eventually send man into space.
The space capsule, Pishgam, was launched on Monday on the birthday anniversary of Prophet Mohammad.
The director said that Iran's first manned mission to space would be launched within the next five to eight years.
According to the NY Times, Iran's state news agency IRNA said the monkey was sent into space on a Kavoshgar rocket that reached a height of 72 miles, and returned with the "shipment intact." However, it did not report whether the "shipment" was brought back alive or dead.
This wasn't the first attempt by Iran to launch a monkey into space. In 2011, a launch attempt was reported to have failed. However, a year before, Iran successfully sent a mouse, a turtle and worms into space. Iran launched its first satellite, Omid, into space back in 2009.
The country sent the Rasad orbiter into space in June 2011, with a mission to take images of the Earth and transmit them along with telemetry information. Iran also launched Navid-e Elm-o Sanat (Harbinger of Science and Industry), another satellite, into orbit back on February 3, 2012
Iran's missile launching capabilities are seen as a threat to Westerners, who fear that it is just a cover-up for the country's real intentions of developing nuclear missiles.
Western officials in Brussels said they offered Iran new dates in February to resume the long-running and inconclusive nuclear talks. This came after Iranian officials turned down requests for a meeting in Istanbul at the end of January.
Although Press TV reported the launch, Western monitors have not announced any missile launch by Iran.
Still images being broadcast on state TV showed a small, gray-tufted monkey being prepared for the flight, wearing a type of body protection and being strapped tightly into a pod that resembled an infant's car seat.
Other than distance, and claiming the monkey was safe and sound, the reports did not give any other details on the timing or location of the launch.