ISA to launch a monkey into space
TEHRAN: Iran isn’t a country with a high profile in space tourism – but that could soon change. On Wednesday, the Iran Space Agency (ISA) announced its intention to launch a live Rhesus monkey into space. But can it bring the animal back?
A previous attempt to launch a craft carrying a monkey failed last October, stalling Iran’s space ambitions. Now the mission is back on track, with a launch planned for mid-August, after the Islamic month of Ramadan ends.
It is not the first time Iran has shown interest in launching animals into orbit. In 2010, the ISA’s Kavoshgar-3 rocket carried worms, a mouse and two turtles as passengers. More significantly, the animals were reportedly safely returned to Earth.
It would be a major advance in Iran’s space programme if the country is able to successfully return a monkey to Earth. “This would show its capability to return scientific payloads from orbit,” says Bhupendra Jasani of King’s College London, who studies the military use of space. “However, to launch a human may take some time.”
Iranian forays into space exploration have surprised international onlookers due to their speed and secrecy. Iran has launched three domestically made satellites in as many years, and a fourth is to be launched in the next few months. Iran is the ninth country to put domestically built satellites into orbit, and the sixth to send animals into space. via: thenews.com.pk