Iran to send mice into space
Iranian scientists plan to send a second biocapsule of living creatures, probably mice, into the space, an academic revealed on Sunday without giving any specific date for the launch, Fars reported.
"The plan for sending living creature into space was approved and it is waiting for a final approval," Mansour Kabkanian, a professor at Tehran's Amirkabir University, said on Sunday.
"After the final approval, the plan for sending living creatures into space will be implemented," he said, adding that the country plans to send the living creatures to the altitude of 300km below the 70 degrees orbit.
Kabkanian also mentioned that Iranian scientists have proposed sending mice into space since they are stronger and more resistant than other mammals.
Also earlier this year, Head of Iran's Space Agency renewed his promise that Iran would send a live monkey into space.
"One cannot give a set date for this project and as soon as our nation's scientists announce the readiness (of the project) it will be announced," said Hamid Fazeli in October.
Fazeli had said in mid-June that Iran plans to launch a Kavoshgar-5 rocket with a 285-kilogram capsule carrying a monkey to an altitude of 120 kilometers (74 miles)."
"Our scientists are exerting continuous efforts on this project... our colleagues are busy with empirical studies and sub-system testing of this project so it is a success," he said.
In mid-March, Iran's space organization announced the launch of the Kavoshgar-4 rocket carrying a test capsule designed to house the monkey.
The capsule had been unveiled in February by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with four new prototypes of home-built satellites the country hopes to launch before March 2012.
At the time, Fazeli called the launch of a large animal into space as the first step towards sending a man into space, which Tehran says is scheduled for 2020.
Iran has already sent small animals into space - a rat, turtles and worms - aboard a capsule carried by its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010.
The Islamic republic, which first put a satellite into orbit in 2009, has outlined an ambitious space program and has, thus far, made giant progress in the field despite western sanctions and pressures against its advancement.
Iran announced in February that it planned to unveil and send two recently-built satellites into space in the near future.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced in 2010 that Iran plans to send astronauts into space in 2024. But, later he said that the issue had gone under a second study at a cabinet meeting and that the cabinet had decided to implement the plan in 2019, five years earlier than the date envisaged in the original plan.
Omid (hope) was Iran's first research satellite that was designed for gathering information and testing equipment. After orbiting for three months, Omid successfully completed its mission without any problem. It completed more than 700 orbits over seven weeks and reentered the Earth's atmosphere on April 25, 2009.
After launching Omid, Tehran unveiled three new satellites called Tolou, Mesbah II and Navid, respectively. Iran has also unveiled its latest achievements in designing and producing satellite carriers very recently.
A new generation of home-made satellites and a new satellite carrier called Simorgh (Phoenix) were among the latest achievements unveiled by Iran's aerospace industries.
The milk-bottle shaped rocket is equipped to carry a 60-kilogram (132-pound) satellite 500 kilometers (310 miles) into orbit.
The 27-meter (90 foot) tall multi-stage rocket weighs 85 tons and its liquid fuel propulsion system has a thrust of up to 143 tons.
Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), which was set up in 1959.