Iranian state television claims that the country’s scientists have successfully sent a monkey into space ““as a prelude to sending humans.”
According to Press Tv, the animal was launched in a space capsule code-named ‘Pishgam’ or Pioneer, it reached an altitude of some 120km (75 miles) for a sub-orbital flight before “returning its shipment intact”.
“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.
The country previously attempted to put a money into space in 2011 but the trial failed in the process and no official explanation was given by the state television.
Iranian state TV showed images of the monkey, which was strapped into a harness, being taken to the rocket.
The decision to send a monkey to space was taken “because of biological similarities between humans and monkeys, the latter were selected for the space mission.” said he director of the Iran Space Agency, Hamid Fazeli.
Fazeli predicts that the successful attempt of space travel by a monkey will result in future attempts of human going to space within “next five to eight years,”.
Fazeli also forecasts that Iran will send its Sharifsat satellite into orbit before the end of March.
Iranian state telivision claims that the rocket returned safely after reaching a height of 75 miles above earth with ”its shipment intact,”.
While concerns have been expressed over Iran’s space programme on the ground of it being used to develop long-range missiles, Iran has denied that its nuclear and scientific programmes mask military ambitions.