Iran Launches a Monkey on a Suborbital Rocket

Article written: 29 Jan , 2013
Updated: 26 Apr , 2016

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.

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37 Responses

  1. zkank says

    I thought that was Ahmadinejad!

  2. dangerdad says

    Correction, “Iran CLAIMS launch…” until we see a western country verify it.

  3. Larry Olson says

    What the h*** is it with Iran anyway? Are they really as out of their minds as they seem to be?

    • Ettalb says

      On the out of mind scale i’d still put north korea ahead of iran any day of the week

      • zkank says

        You need to read more.

        Iran and N Korea have a missle cooperation pact, and techs from each side regularly visits the other.
        What one accomplishes will be shared with the other.

        This test, if it actually happened, isn’t to advance their science or contribute to space exploration, it’s to advance their arsenals.

  4. Dampe says

    With Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, i thought humans where beyond sending animals to space…

    Still hopefully this will result in the US and Europe sending man to the moon again

  5. Andrew Planet says

    Does that means the Government of Islamic Iran officially approves of evolution as a fact as does the Roman Catholic Vatican?

    • Zoutsteen from Holland says

      A religious matrix is like a permanent syneasthesia. You can only bypass it if you can actively access that matrix and change it on demand. Only very few can do that.
      Just try it out yourself: congrats Iran! …. it doesn’t feel right. that’s the permanent matrix at work. And it works for muslims or any other religion as well, including people who are atheïst.
      Humans are flying, but we all are just not there yet. Not by a long shot.

  6. Aleksandar Kova? says

    Politics aside, that is a nice technical and scientific accomplishment.

    • mmurdoch says

      And science aside, why did they have to pick that horrendous Microsoft Surface color scheme? Extremely bad taste.

      • Aleksandar Kova? says

        🙂 You mean the Mondrianesque background for TV anchor? Sometimes I wonder the same… Some like meatballs and eagles and other mighty predatory birds, others put ancient gods and many, many little flags, some like inscriptions full of mystic heraldry. Globally, everyone seems to put Bank Gothic as default on anything techy 🙂 (then typographers roll their eyes)… I just don’t know. De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.

  7. newSteveZodiac says

    Why for God’s sake put a creature through that sort of trauma? We already know that animals and humans can survive in space.

  8. Phil says

    I really do not know why they bothered launching a monkey into space. A monkey is not a good analog for nuclear material. Clearly that rocket will not be taking men into space. LOOK AT IT!

  9. Beck45 says

    This is unethical for its treatment of animals. As is animal testing in general and treatment of livestock for food. To readers in 100 years: not everyone agreed with this nonsense.

  10. bdlaacmm says

    That poor guy looks absolutely miserable! Figures that that they’d treat their animals as abysmally as they do their population. Pointless cruelty.

  11. Poor monkey, I think they taped him down.

  12. Flavio Bassetti says

    Gosh! The monkey looks so sad! Poor animal! I cannot understand it!

  13. utterly vile and contemptuous! sentient nonhuman animals are not our slaves to do with as we please.

  14. 22blackdob says

    Oh, and how impressive is the seat/capsule technology shown here! A little velcro, a little duct tape, some left over packing material from the mail room, presto, we’re ready for manned flights to Mars! You can see the high-tech work on this as a prototype for manned flight next, right?

  15. Disgusting! That POOR creature! Screw Iran!

  16. While I agree that this is both pointless and inhumane, I also feel compelled to point out that the first 6 monkeys launched into space by the U.S. all died horrible deaths: (1) Albert suffocated (2) Albert II died on impact (3) Albert III died at 35,000 feet when his V2 exploded and (4) Albert IV died on impact again after parachute failure. (5) Albert V died the same way as 2 and 4. (6) Albert VI died two hours after landing from overheating stress. And so on. It’s hypocritical for us to claim moral superiority.

    • The Latinist says

      I do not believe that with the knowledge we now have of space flight and its effects we would feel compelled to launch a monkey on such a flight. Indeed, I would think it pointless and inhumane to do so. The difference between what we did then and what Iran is now doing is that we were ignorant of the effects of space flight and could reasonably argue that the potential unknown dangers justified the inhumane treatment of the monkey, while Iran has the benefit of seventy years of successful space flight by the US, Russia, the EU, and China to inform them of what these dangers are and how they can be mitigated.

      • CallanTFC says

        And what makes you think any of the space-faring nations you mentioned would be willing to share their knowledge with Iran? I grant that even post-revolution, Russia and China both maintained relations with Iran, but hardly to the extent of sharing such scientific discoveries with them. As for the others, the majority of the Western world has sanctions in place against sharing pretty much ANY technology with Iran. They are building their program from the ground up with home-grown technologies, and as such, seem to be taking the same route the US did 50+ years ago. I for one commend them for making progress despite overwhelming international pressure and what essentially amounts to a scientific blockade by the Western world. If we leave the politics out of it, they’ve just achieved far more than 90% of the world’s nations have been able to, and that merits at the very least some congratulations.

      • The Latinist says

        They can learn anything they could get from this experiment by reading peer-reviewed journals that you can get even in Iran. Listen, you don’t know me, and you don’t know my politics. Stop assuming things I didn’t say. All I am saying is that this kind of test is no longer necessary, and as such even the questionable justification we had in the 50’s no longer applies.

      • CallanTFC says

        It’s exactly this kind of response, the “you don’t know me, you don’t know my politics” that has caused so much polarization and a lack of progress in the GLOBAL scientific community, which in turn results in tests like the one you’re criticizing. When did I claim to know you? When did I ask for your political opinion? My assertion was and is that, politics aside, this is an achievement few countries have ever managed, and that getting technical data in Iran is very difficult, so bully for them for managing what they did with what they had to work with. No need to get your knickers in a twist, mate. We’re all on the same side here 🙂

      • The Latinist says

        When you say, “If we leave the politics out of it, they’ve just achieved far more than 90% of the world’s nations have been able to, and that merits at the very least some congratulations” the plain meaning is that I would be congratulating them rather than criticizing them if it weren’t for politics. I disagree utterly that there is anything to be congratulated in the “accomplishment” of an unnecessary and inhumane experiment, however difficult it was to pull off, and that has absolutely nothing to do with my politics.

  17. ITSRUF says

    Let’s just be glad they sent a monkey instead of something else considered expendable and not worthy of bother in their eyes — like a woman.

  18. In retaliation, a team of monkeys have launched an Iranian into space

  19. Grimbold says

    Poor monkey.

  20. Member
    Aqua4U says

    In the first image the monkey looks totally stoned/drugged out or dead? Ruffinals anyone? We’ll sleep and forget the facts! Ummm… Unconfirmed launch eh… yah shore… it would be? But truely… if it went up… it was most likely monitored.. being Iranian. SHHHHH! Be WARY way kwiet! Persian Monkey’s ahoy ISS!

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

    “Iran… Iran so far awaaaaaay…..”

  22. Jack McIntyre says

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

  23. Walter Spatula says

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

  24. 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?

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