Iran Launches Second Monkey into Space with 'Pajohesh' Mission

Dec 14, 2013 11:00 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Iran has successfully launched a second monkey into space as part of a program working toward manned space flight, according to state reports.

The launch of Pajohesh, or Research in Farsi, the rocket that marked Iran's first use of liquid fuel, reached a height of 72 miles, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

Iran state television reported that the monkey, named Fargam or Auspicious, was returned safely to Earth. Footage shown on state TV features the monkey, which is 22 inches tall, strapped into a seat and the rocket blasting off.

The monkey's capsule parachuted safely back to Earth after detaching from the rocket in the 15-minute mission, according to Bloomberg.

"Iran frequently claims technological breakthroughs that are impossible to independently verify," the outlet noted.

The next goal of the Islamic Republic is to send an astronaut into space.

"The launch of Pajohesh is another long step getting the Islamic Republic of Iran closer to sending a man into space," the official IRNA news agency said.

Iran reportedly sent its first monkey into space in January.

"The rocket carrying the first monkey used solid fuel and had a high speed. But a liquid fuel rocket has a lower speed and is better for the safety and protection of the living creature," IRNA quoted Mohammad Ebrahimi as saying.

The Iranian space program is "a source of national pride"; it could be dangerous for the United States and its allies if Iran attempts to build long-range missiles.

The January space mission caused some buzz when official packages of the supposed spacecraft rider showed a different monkey in photos. Some wondered if the monkey had perished on the mission or if the launch had not been successful.

Iranian officials later stated that three to five monkeys had tested for the launch and one set of the photos had archive pictures of the alternates.

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