Iran claims to have launched a monkey into orbit, according to Iranian state-run media.
Reports issued outside of Iran said the launch “was little more than a publicity exercise and had no scientific, technological or military significance.”
The Fars News Agency reported Monday that Iran had taken its “first step to send man to space.” Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as claiming that Tehran had successfully launched and retrieved a “biocapsule” containing a live monkey and other instruments.
Iran announced last week that is was close to launching a “living creature” into space.
“Sending Explorer and retrieving it was the first step for sending human to the space in later stages,” Vahidi was quoted as saying.
“Explorer Pioneer fulfilled its mission at 360,000 feet (120km) altitude well,” according to Fars, which also reported that the country had successfully “sent small animals into space—a rat, turtles and worms—aboard a capsule carried by its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010.”
Tehran attempted and failed to launch a rocket into orbit in 2011.
The rocket launched on Monday is said to have travelled about 75 miles, according to Fars.
Iranian officials have said that they will send a person into space by 2020.
According to Haaretz:
The experiment did not prove any new ballistic capabilities and Iran has been capable of launching a missile out of the atmosphere (over 100 kilometers) for years now. The missile of the Kavoshger (explorer) series is actually a longer version of the Iranian medium-range missile, Fateh-110 which has been for a decade in operational use by the Iranian army and is capable of hitting targets at a range of up to 300 kilometers. The Syrian army also has its own version of the Fateh-110, built in Syria and called the M-600, as have Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The United States first sent a monkey into space in 1949.