According to press agency AFP, an Iranian attempt to launch a rocket carrying a live monkey into space in September has failed. The mission, announced last summer in the website of the Iranian Space Agency, consisted in launching a capsule with a life support system and reentry capability on top of a Kavoshgar-5 rocket to an altitude of 120 kilometers for a 20-minute sub-orbital flight. Deputy Science Minister Mohammad Mehdinejad-Nouri has reportedly commented: ”The Kavoshgar-5 rocket carrying a capsule with a live animal (a monkey) was launched during Shahrivar (Note: Shahrivar is an Iranian calendar month spanning August 23 to September 22). However, the launch was not publicised as all of its anticipated objectives were not accomplished.”
The launch of a live animal into space was considered “strategic, and a priority,” by the Iranian government. In 2010, the country launched a Kavoshgar-3 rocket carrying a rat, two turtles and a worm into space. According Hamid Fazeli, head of Iran’s Space Organisation, the plan to fly live monkeys has been put on hold indefinitely: ”One cannot give a set date for this project and as soon as our nation’s scientists announce the readiness (of the project) it will be announced,” he said.
The Iranian republic, which put a satellite into orbit successfully in 2009, is pursuing an ambitious space program, which poses concerns in the Western world for possible links to the development of nuclear capable ballistic missiles.
Video, below, Iran’s Kavoshgar-1 lifts off for space.