TEHRAN, Iran – Iran said Saturday it has successfully sent a monkey into space for a second time, part of an ambitious program aimed at manned space flight.
Iran’s state TV said the launch of the rocket dubbed Pajohesh, Farsi for Research, was Iran’s first use of liquid fuel. It reached a height of 72 miles. It said the monkey, named Fargam, or Auspicious, was returned to Earth safely.
TV footage showed the rocket blasting off and then showed the monkey, strapped snugly into a seat. The report said Fargam’s capsule parachuted safely to Earth after detaching from the rocket in a mission that lasted 15 minutes.
Iran frequently claims technological breakthroughs that are impossible to independently verify. The Islamic republic has said it aims to send an astronaut into space.
“The launch of Pajohesh is another long step getting the Islamic Republic of Iran closer to sending a man into space,” the official IRNA news agency said.
Fargam is a male monkey of rhesus macaque race with brown fur and a pink face. The primate weighs about 7 pounds and has a height of 22 inches. Iranian scientists say a bigger monkey or another animal will be tested in the next space flight.
State TV said the rocket was equipped with new features including sonic sensors and electronic devices that enabled scientists to monitor the monkey, its vital signs and voice.