June 17, 2011

Iran To Send Live Monkey Into Space

After the launch of the Rassad-1, Iran's top space official announced that the country will send a live monkey into space this summer, reported a state television on its website Thursday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in February, revealed a space capsule made to carry a live monkey into space. He also announced the existence of four new prototypes of home-built satellites that the country hopes to launch sometime before March 2012.

"The Kavoshgar-5 rocket will be launched during the month of Mordad (July 23 to August 23) with a 285-kilogram capsule carrying a monkey to an altitude of 120 kilometers (74 miles)," head of Iran's Space Agency Hamid Fazeli says.

Since Iran's first satellite began its orbit in 2009, the Islamic republic has outlined an ambitious space program amid concerns from Western nations, reports AFP.

In 2010, Iran sent small animals such as a rat, turtles and worms into space on the Kavoshgar-3.

On Wednesday Rassad-1 or Observation-1 satellite was successfully launched by Iran and will be photographing the planet and transmitting images, media reports say. The satellite is orbiting 15 times every 24 hours above Earth at 260 kilometer.

Built by Malek Ashtar University in Tehran, which is linked to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, the Rassad-1 satellite was originally scheduled to launch in August of 2010.

In addition, Fazeli says that the launch of a large animal into space is a first step towards sending a man into space. The country has set a goal to achieve this in 2020.


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