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Iran takes initial step to send man to space: minister


08:30, January 29, 2013

TEHRAN, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Monday that Iran took the first step to send man to space.

The defense minister's remarks followed reports that Iran had sent a live monkey onboard a homemade rocket named Pishgam ( Pioneer) into space.

Iran sent a capsule containing the monkey into space and retrieved the "shipment" intact later, the Tehran-based Arab- language Al-Alam channel said, quoting an official statement.

"Sending explorer and retrieving it was the first step for sending human to space in later stages," Vahidi said, adding that he would soon announce some good news in this regard, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

"Explorer Pioneer fulfilled its mission at 360,000 feet altitude well," he was quoted as saying.

Vahid said the biocapsule which contained a living creature, a monkey, came back to the earth safe and sound at the preplanned speed and velocity.

The project was studied and carried out by Iran Space Agency ( ISA) and the capsule was launched by the aerospace division of Iran's Defense Ministry to a predetermined orbit, according to Fars.

The reports did not elaborate on its duration in space.

Previous attempt by the Islamic republic to put a monkey into space was reported to have failed.

According to Fars, the objectives of the project, which were achieved, include sending the monkey to the height of 120 km, using domestic technology of designing, manufacturing and retrieving the capsule intact.

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