Iran plans to send a live monkey into space this summer and states that it already launched several small animals aboard its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010. Officials say it is part of the country’s goal to send a man into space by 2020.
Reports of the launch were given on Iran’s state television after the Rasad-1 satellite was sent into orbit 163 miles above the Earth on June 16. Rasad, which means “Observation” in Farsi, will be used for gathering data.
“The Kavoshgar-5 rocket will be launched during the month of Mordad (July 23 to August 23) with a 285-kilogramme capsule carrying a monkey to an altitude of 120 kilometers (74 miles),” Hamid Fazeli, head of Iran’s Space Organization said to AFP.
Animal rights groups in the region are outraged over the decision and call it inhumane. They are asking for the Iranian government to “rethink the plan.”
The Bikyamasr newspaper in Dubai interviewed Dina Yussif, a Jordanian animal advocate about the situation. “Other countries have already sent animals into space and now they are going to be doing the same thing,” she said.”Why? I will fight this as hard as possible from here and hopefully someone will listen.”
In February, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed a capsule that was designed to carry a live monkey into space and Fazeli touted the launch of a large animal as the first step in sending a man into space, which Tehran says is scheduled for 2020.
Then in March the government tested the capsule with a monkey shaped doll.
This is not the first time Iran will be sending animals into space. The country sent a rat, turtles and worms aboard its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010.
The government also plans to launch three more satellites in the next few months. Countries in the West are concerned about Iran’s space program because the technology involved is the same that can be used to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied that claim.
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