Iran plans to send a selected monkey to space next month.
According to Iran's state-run news agency IRNA, five monkeys are currently undergoing tests, and one will be selected for the flight on board a Kavoshgar-5 rocket, as part of the space program, potentially alarming Israel and its Western allies concerned over the progress of Iran's missile arsenal and nuclear arms.
The fear is that Iran's long-range ballistic technology used in Iran's space program to propel satellites into orbit could also be used to launch atomic warheads, said Al Arabiya News. Tehran has denied such suggestions, saying its nuclear work is purely peaceful and adding that it seeks only energy-producing reactors, reported IRNA. At the same time, Iran announced on Monday that it has long-range missiles capable of striking U.S. and Israeli bases in the area.
Last week, Iran launched its second domestically built satellite into orbit, reportedly for transmitting images and weather forecasts.
In 2010, Iran announced its launching of a rocket that sent a mouse, two turtles and some worms into space. By 2017, Iran plans to send a human, announced Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The first animals sent into space were fruit flies in 1947, followed by a Rhesus Monkey named Albert II in 1949. The U.S. sent several mice into space in 1950 and the Soviet Union sent a dog named Laika in 1957. Numerous space dogs and monkeys have been to space, as well as frogs, mice and more.