Iran Launches a Monkey on a Suborbital Rocket

by Nancy Atkinson on January 29, 2013

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Iran's space monkey. Via Fox News.

Iran's space monkey. Via Fox News.

According to Iran state media, Iran launched a suborbital rocket last week with a passenger aboard: a monkey. A gray tufted monkey survived the flight, riding inside an “indigenous bio-capsule” which was recovered after the flight. While the US and other nations are worried that Iran’s real goal is to have a nuclear missile program, Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state television that this launch was a “big step” towards sending astronauts into space by 2020.

Iranian news agencies said the rocket traveled to an altitude of 120 kilometres (75 miles) for a suborbital flight. The space capsule was named Pishgam, which is “Pioneer” in Farsi. The launch has not yet been independently verified.

“This success is the first step towards man conquering the space and it paves the way for other moves,” General Vahidi said, but added that the process of putting a human into space would be a lengthy one.

“Today’s successful launch follows previous successes we had in launching (space) probes with other living creatures,” he said, referring to the launch in the past of a rat, turtles and worms into space.

A previous attempt in 2011 by Iran to put a monkey into space failed, and they never provided an explanation for the failure.

Much of Iran’s technological equipment derives from modified Chinese and North Korean technology. Iran denies that its long-range ballistic technology is linked to its atomic program.

Sources: SpaceRef, Fox News.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Kevin Frushour January 30, 2013 at 4:04 AM

I was going to going to volunteer for that flight, but when I saw the shoddy rocket…

“Iran… Iran so far awaaaaaay…..”

Jack McIntyre January 30, 2013 at 12:04 PM

The display of American ignorance and paranoia in these comments beggars belief.

Walter Spatula January 31, 2013 at 4:27 PM

When they put a human up do you think they’ll also tie him into a foam-lined plastic box with velcro straps?

Igor Vasilev February 2, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Come on. The scope of the test was not to find out whether a monkey can survive a flight into space; it was to find out if it can survive a flight into space in the capsule they built. And though the fact that yep, monkeys are space-worthy, is well-known even in Iran, the exact technology behind the life support and other vital systems that keep them alive in-flight are not. So the Iranian engineers have to develop this technology on their own. And while the Americans tens to see Iran as a nation of cartoon villains who do nasty things because they are just evil like that, the reason Iranian rocketeers had to do this test is actually quite humane: they don’t want to have actual people fly untested spacecraft. What’s so evil about that?

Leah G Cartoonist February 5, 2013 at 6:31 AM

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