Iran 'launches monkey into space'
Published 28/01/2013 | 12:00
Iran has claimed it sent a monkey into space in what it described as another step toward the goal of manned space flight.
State media said the monkey was sent 70 miles up in a Pishtam, or Explorer, rocket. It gave no other details on the timing or location of the launch, but said the monkey returned safely.
Iran has said it seeks to send an astronaut into space as part of its ambitious aerospace program. In 2010, Iran said it launched a rocket into space carrying a mouse, turtle and worms.
The West is worried that technology from the space programme could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads.
Iran has announced several successful launches of satellites, dating back to 2005 in a joint project with Russia.
Tehran has not given details of its planned new space facility, but it already has a major satellite launch complex near Semnan, about 125 miles from Tehran. A satellite monitoring facility is located outside Mahdasht, west of the Iranian capital.
Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation, improve telecommunications and expand military surveillance in the region.