Iran sends monkey into space
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 7:11a.m.
By Ali Akbar Dareini
Iran said Monday it has successfully sent a monkey into space, describing the launch as another step toward Tehran's goal of a manned space flight.
According to a brief report on state TV, the rocket dubbed Pishgam, or Pioneer in Farsi, reached a height of 120km. The report gave no other details on the timing or location of the launch, but said the monkey safely returned to earth.
Still images broadcast on state TV showed a small, gray-tufted monkey presumably being prepared for the flight, including wearing a type of body protection and being strapped tightly into a pod that resembled an infant's car seat.
The photos draw historical links to the earliest years of the space race in the 1950s when both the US and Soviet Union tested the boundaries of rocket flight with animals on board, including American capsules carrying monkeys and Moscow's crafts holding dogs. Many of the animals on the flights perished because of equipment failure or technology unable to cope with re-entry from orbit.
Iran has long said it seeks to send an astronaut into space as part of its ambitious aerospace program, including plans for a new space center announced last year. In 2010, Iran said it launched an Explorer rocket into space carrying a mouse, a turtle and worms.
The US and its allies worry that technology from the space program could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads. Iran denies it seeks atomic weapons and claims it is pursuing nuclear reactors only for energy and medical applications.
Tehran has announced several successful launches of satellites, dating back to 2005 in a joint project with Russia.
The Islamic Republic has not given details of its planned new space facility, but it already has a major satellite launch complex near Semnan, about 200km east of Tehran. A satellite monitoring facility is located outside Mahdasht, about 70km west of the Iranian capital.
Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation, improve telecommunications and expand military surveillance in the region.
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29/01/2013 10:10:01 p.m.
Well done IRAN.Your scientific, technological make all us proud. Despite sanctions on everything possible. E.g Universities, Hospitals, Airplanes, Medicines for cancer patients, freezing of Iranian assets in eu and world, ban from using swift transactions AND STILL YOU PROGESS WOW!!!!
29/01/2013 8:14:42 p.m.
So they sent their president into outer space. So what?
29/01/2013 4:02:18 p.m.
Although this was done in the 1960's surely we have surpassed the need to send animals into space. Boeing X7, Delta and Dragon are already undertaking unmanned tests and then be manned. Iran seems to have put too much money into warfare and not keeping up with technology.
29/01/2013 11:56:46 a.m.
That poor, poor little chap they have forcibly strapped in .... makes my stomach turn. Thanks for the nightmares Iran. No mention of the monkeys fate thereafter ....
29/01/2013 11:39:46 a.m.
Look at the poor thing, why send a monkey? its not like Iran care about human rights so why not send a person up? I hope this monkey bit someone
29/01/2013 9:58:51 a.m.
Poor monkey. Just cruel.
29/01/2013 8:41:26 a.m.
I don't know how it's been done in the past, but that monkey looks petrified. Yay for Iran and their "space ambitions."
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