Iran said that it plans to send a monkey into the space on the back of Kavoshgar (Explorer) 5 rocket in the near future.
Head of Iranian Space Agency Hamid Fazeli, said that the Iranian shuttle, Kavoshgar-5 carrying monkey to space will be launched into space during March-August 2012.
“Kavoshgar-5 will carry a biological capsule containing a monkey into space. This is actually a prelude to preparing Iran for sending a human astronaut into space before 2021,” Fazeli told the Islamic republic news agency on Thursday.
Noting that only three countries have succeeded so far to send human astronaut into space, Fazeli pointed out that India is considering to send human astronaut into space by 2016.
In mid-March 2011, Iran’s space organization announced the launch of the Kavoshgar-4 rocket carrying a test capsule designed to house the monkey.
The capsule had been unveiled in February by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with four new prototypes of home-built satellites.
At the time, 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.