UK & World News

  • 28 January 2013, 14:44

Iran Space Monkey: Primate 'Sent Into Orbit'

Iran has successfully flown a monkey into space and back, according to the country's state TV channel.

In what was described as another step toward Tehran's goal of a manned space flight, the report said the primate was sent up in a Pishtam, or Explorer, rocket to a height of 72 miles.

It gave no other details on the timing or location of the launch, but said the monkey returned safely.

Iran has said it wants to send an astronaut into space as part of its ambitious aerospace programme.

In 2010, the country said it launched a rocket into space carrying a mouse, turtle and worms.

The US and its allies worry that technology from the space programme could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads.

If confirmed, the monkey would be the latest in a long line of astronaut primates.

The first was a Rhesus monkey called Albert, who died of suffocation after flying to a height of 39 miles in a United States V2 rocket in 1948.

Albert II became the first to reach space - by flying past the 100km (62 mile) 'Karman line' - but died upon his return to Earth when his parachute failed.

Squirrel monkeys Able and Miss Baker became the first primates to successfully return to Earth following a space flight, when they travelled on the American Jupiter AM-18 rocket in 1958.

Advertisement