Iran plans to send a second monkey into space onboard the Iranian-built Pishgam II rocket, meaning ‘pioneer’, by the end of next month, Iran Space Agency (ISA) Director Hamid Fazeli was quoted as saying by local media on October 13. In January this year, Iran sent an indigenous bio-capsule containing a monkey onboard Pishgam I into space.
Fazeli said that while the first rocket was solid-fuelled, the Pishgam II will use liquid propellant, according to the Tehran Times daily.
The sending of living creatures into space is part of the country’s preparations to send human beings into space within a course of five to eight years, said the Iranian official.
ISA also has plans to launch the Tadbir research satellite as well as the Sharif and Nahid birds into space by the end of the Iranian calendar year, ending on March 20, 2014, he added.
Iran, a founding member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, launched Omid, meaning ‘hope’, the country’s first domestically-made, data-processing satellite, in 2009. In June 2011, Iran launched its 15.3-kilogramme Rasad (‘Observation’) orbiter into space with a mission of taking images of the Earth to be transmitted together with telemetry data to the ground stations. On February 3 last year, Iran also launched Navid-e Elm-o Sanat (‘Harbinger of Science and Industry’), another indigenous satellite.