Iran Claims 'Major Achievement;' Says Monkey Was Sent Into Space : The Two-WayThe nation's official media reports the primate was sent up about 75 miles. It reportedly survived the trip. Iran says it's aiming to launch a manned mission in five to eight years. Other nations are concerned that the program is really aimed at developing long-range missiles.
More specifically, it says a monkey was sent up about 75 miles and later "was retrieved on the ground, intact ... [and] alive." It's part of what Iran says is work toward a manned space program. According to Iran's Press TV, the nation's space agency plans to launch its first manned mission "within the next five to eight years." The monkey launch is being called a "major achievement."
The news — which has not been independently verified by news outlets from outside Iran — isn't welcome in many other capitals. As the BBC writes:
"Western nations have expressed concern that Iran's space program is being used to develop long-range missiles. Such missiles could potentially be used to carry nuclear warheads. Iran denies it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes."
Press TV says today's launch was timed to happen "on the auspicious birthday anniversary of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)."