Following earlier reports that Iran wanted to put a cat into space, now it seems the country wants to send up a second monkey. Iran could launch the animal into space by the end of next month with plans to send additional species into space prior to sending humans.
The Associated Press reports the deputy head of the Iran Space Agency, Hamid Fazeli, announced the plans in a statement quoted by the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper. Iran successfully sent a monkey aboard a space capsule code-named “Pishgam,” or Pioneer, in January.
According to the state-run PressTV, Fazeli said the space agency has already completed the necessary preparations to send another animal into space. He said the monkey will be sent into space aboard a “liquid-fuel carrier” by the end of November. In addition to sending animals into space, Iran is planning to launch three satellites, Tadbir, Prudence, Sharifsat and Nahid, by the end of March 2014. The country has launched two satellites into orbit, with the Navid-e Elm-o Sanat, Harbinger in Space, satellite, having been launched in 2013, as well as an orbiter, Rasad, or Observer, reports PressTV.
Iran hopes to send humans into space by 2018, reports AP. In Fazeli’s statement, Iran’s space agency plans on sending other animals into space. In September, Fazeli stated that a cat, a Persian cat of course, could be the next animal the county sends into space. Iran has stated that it has successfully sent worms, a mouse and a turtle in space before successfully sending the monkey in January 2013. Animal astronauts are important during the development of a country’s space program as they allow the country to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a potential launch.