After Iran launched a monkey in a suborbital rocket earlier this year, they are now setting their sights on sending humans to orbit, according to the Iranian news agency ISNA. The news release says researchers at the University of Haj Nasir “have designed and built a manned spacecraft,” but only images of basic designs were released.
The spacecraft appears to be a classic capsule design, and is capable of carrying “one to three people to lower orbits for several hours. This type of aircraft is made up of several modules.”
The researchers, Leila Khalajzadeh and Mehran Shams, were reported as saying in their presentation that the capsule design is the most economical type of spacecraft.
The Israeli news site Hayadan reports that Tal Inbar, head of the Space and UAV Research Center at Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Israel, says that no technical data was released from Iran on the new spacecraft designs, nor have they provided information about the launch vehicle required to send the capsule to space.
According to details released earlier by the Iranian space agency, they want to launch the first sub-orbital spaceflight with an Iranian on board by 2016 at an altitude below 200 kilometers as preparation for the eventual orbital spaceflight.
Iranian participation in the future Chinese space station program has also been discussed.
Reportedly, much of Iran’s technological equipment derives from modified Chinese and North Korean technology. In 2008, Iran successfully launched a two-stage all solid-fuel sub-orbital sounding rocket called the Kavoshgar-1 (Explorer-1), for the first sub-orbital test flight from the Shahroud space launch complex. Later, in 2010-2013, at least three animal flight tests were sent on suborbital launches, some flights with outright failures, others with varying degrees of success.