Iran on 28 January 2013 announced that it had successfully sent into space a monkey. While declaring the sending of a monkey into space, Iran also declared that it was yet another step towards the space flight goal of Tehran.
The rocket called Pishgam (meaning Pioneer) reached at a height of 120 km. Though the details about timing or the location were not disclosed, but Iran declared that the monkey had come back to the Earth successfully.
Since a long time, Iran wanted to send an astronaut in space as its aerospace programme in 2012. In 2010, Iran declared that it had launched the Explorer rocket into space which carried worms, turtle and mouse. Iran’s effort to launch a monkey into the space had earlier failed in 2011.
However, US and the allies worried that the technology from the space programme might be utilised for creation of missiles which could potentially also be armed with the nuclear warheads. Iran, in the meanwhile, denied that it took atomic weapons and also claimed that it was using the nuclear reactors for medical and energy applications.
In its joint project with Russia, Iran had announced that it had successfully launched satellites into space back in 2005. Though Iran conceals details of the new space facility that it has planned, but the most important satellite launch complex of Iran is near Semnan.
Early monkeys sent into space
•The first country to launch the primate into space was US. It sent a rhesus monkey known as Albert into a sub-space altitude of 39 miles in the V2 rocket in 1948. However, Albert died because of suffocation in the flight.
•Another monkey called Albert II was sent into space achieving the altitude of 83 miles in the V2 rocket in 1949. Though Albert II survived but it died because of parachute failure.
•In late 1949, other two monkeys called Albert III and Albert IV were sent but again did not survive.
•In 1951, Albert V died because of parachute failure.
•In 1951, Albert VI, also called Yorick survived the flight but only reached the height of 45 miles. The boundary of outer space is considered beyond 62 miles.
•The landmark was achieved by the US in 1959 when two primates were recovered alive after their spaceflight. These primates were a rhesus monkey called Able and a squirrel monkey called Baker. These primates were aboard a rocket called Jupiter.