On Wednesday, Iran announced that it successfully launched a capsule into orbit with the capability to transport animals, a significant step in its preparations for upcoming human missions in the coming years.
State media IRNA on Wednesday released a clip of the launch of an Iranian-made rocket carrying the capsule, which they said was successfully sent 130km (80 miles) into orbit.
The Salman rocket transported a 500kg (1,100 pounds) "all-indigenous" capsule, marking the heaviest biological capsule ever successfully launched in the history of the Iranian space program.
IRNA quoted Telecommunications Minister Isa Zarepour saying that the launch of the 500-kilogram (1,000-pound) capsule is aimed at sending Iranian astronauts to space in coming years. He did not say if any animals were in the capsule.
According to him, Iran intends to launch astronauts into space by 2029 following additional animal testing, as reported by state TV.
The aerospace division of the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology developed the capsule, which was ordered by the Iranian Space Agency. The rocket was built by the aerospace wing of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics.
Hossein Dalirian, the spokesperson for the space agency, put a video on X. “Launch of the bio capsule from a new angle,” he wrote.
Iran occasionally announces successful satellite launches and other spacecraft achievements. In September, the country declared that it had launched a data-collecting satellite into space. Additionally, in 2013, Iran claimed the successful launch of a monkey into space, with the mission culminating in the safe return of the primate to Earth.
Reports said the country’s Defense Ministry built and launched the Salman rocket while the capsule was built by the Iranian civil space agency. It is still not clear from where the launch took place. Iran usually makes launches from Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Semnan province.
Iran asserts that its satellite program is geared toward scientific research and civilian applications. However, the U.S. and other Western nations have harboured suspicions about the program due to concerns that the same technology employed for satellites can also be utilized in the development of long-range missiles.
Image source: AP