Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi says the successful mission of Pishgam (Pioneer) spacecraft, which successfully carried a monkey into space, is the first step for Iran towards sending humans into space. “Sending a spacecraft and returning it is the first step towards sending humans to space in later stages,” Vahidi said on Monday. On Monday, Iran launched Pishgam (Pioneer) spacecraft, which took a primate to the altitude of 120 kilometers, and returned it safely to Earth. Iran sent its first bio-capsule of living creatures into space in February 2010, using the indigenous Kavoshgar 3 (Discoverer 3) carrier. The country successfully launched its first indigenous data-processing satellite, Omid (Hope), into orbit in 2009.
As part of a plan to develop its space program, Iran successfully launched its second satellite, dubbed Rassad (Observation), into the earth's orbit in June 2011. Rassad's mission was to take images of the Earth and transmit them along with telemetry information to ground stations.Iran also sent its indigenously-built Navid-e Elm-o Sanat (Harbinger of Science and Industry) satellite into orbit in February 2012. The records made by the telecom, measurement and scientific satellite could be used in a wide range of fields. Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which was set up in 1959. The Iranian defense minister said Iran would also inaugurate the country’s space observatory, named after Shia’s sixth Imam, Imam Sadeq (PBUH), in February. MYA/MA/HJL