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Iran Takes First Step to Send Man to Space
by Staff Writers
Tehran (FNA) Jan 31, 2013


An image taken from Al-Alam TV footage on January 28, 2013 shows a man at an unknown location with a monkey said to have been sent into space. Iran took a "big step" towards sending astronauts into space by 2020, successfully launching a monkey above the Earth's atmosphere, Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state TV. Image courtesy AFP.

Sending a biocapsule to the space and retrieving it successfully was Iran's first step on the path to sending a human to the space, Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said after his agency announced on Monday that it had sent a monkey to the orbit, brought it back to the Earth and retrieved the animal and the relevant data successfully.

"Sending Explorer and retrieving it was the first step for sending human to the space in later stages," Vahidi said, adding that he would soon announce some good news in the same regard.

He further pointed to the mission of the Explorer, and said, "Explorer Pioneer fulfilled its mission at 360,000 feet (120km) altitude well."

Vahidi, whose ministry's space organization was in charge of the project, said the biocapsule which contained a living creature (a monkey) came back to Earth safe and sound and at the planned speed and velocity.

He said Iran will soon inaugurate a space observation base.

The Defense Ministry's Aerospace Industries Organization announced that it has sent a monkey into the space on the back of Pishgam (Pioneer) explorer rocket, and that it has brought back and recovered the living cargo.

The Aerospace Industries Organization said it had sent the living creature into space aboard an indigenous biocapsule as a prelude to sending humans into space.

The Aerospace Industries Organization said the capsule was sent to an orbit beyond 120km in altitude and carried out telemetry of the environmental data records.

The explorer rocket was launched by the Aerospace Industries Organization and it returned to the Earth after reaching the desired speed and altitude, and the living creature (monkey) was retrieved and found alive.

In mid-March 2011, Iran's Space Agency (ISA) announced the launch of the Kavoshgar-4 rocket carrying a test capsule designed to house the monkey.

The capsule had been unveiled in February 2011 by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with four new prototypes of home-built satellites.

At the time, Director of Iran Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli called the launch of a large animal into space as the first step towards sending a man into space, which Tehran says is scheduled for 2020.

Iran has already sent small animals into space - a rat, turtles and worms - aboard a capsule carried by its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010.

The Islamic republic, which first put a satellite into orbit in 2009, has outlined an ambitious space program and has, thus far, made giant progress in the field despite western sanctions and pressures against its advancement.

Iran has taken wide strides in aerospace. The country sent the first biocapsule of living creatures into space in February 2011, using its home-made Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced in 2010 that Iran plans to send astronauts into space in 2024. But, later he said that the issue had gone under a second study at a cabinet meeting and that the cabinet had decided to implement the plan in 2019, five years earlier than the date envisaged in the original plan.

Omid (hope) was Iran's first research satellite that was designed for gathering information and testing equipment. After orbiting for three months, Omid successfully completed its mission without any problem. It completed more than 700 orbits over seven weeks and reentered the Earth's atmosphere on April 25, 2009.

After launching Omid, Tehran unveiled three new satellites called Tolou, Mesbah II and Navid, respectively. Iran has also unveiled its latest achievements in designing and producing satellite carriers.

A new generation of home-made satellites and a new satellite carrier called Simorgh (Phoenix) were among the latest achievements unveiled by Iran's aerospace industries.

The milk-bottle shaped rocket is equipped to carry a 60-kilogram (132-pound) satellite 500 kilometers (310 miles) into orbit.

The 27-meter (90 foot) tall multi-stage rocket weighs 85 tons and its liquid fuel propulsion system has a thrust of up to 143 tons.

Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), which was set up in 1959.

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