Iran plans to launch Persian cat into space as it prepares to send first human astronaut by 2018


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Iran is preparing to launch a cat into space, just seven months after claiming to have sent a monkey on a successful 20 minute flight 72 miles into the atmosphere.

The move comes as the country prepares to send their first human astronaut into space by 2018 in a bid to develop their aerospace programme.

Monday's report by the official IRNA news agency quotes space official Mohammad Ebrahimi as saying the next animal could be the distinctive Persian cat, a long-haired, flat-faced breed named after Iran's former name of Persia.

The launch could occur as soon as March 2014. No other details were given.

In February, Iran insisted it had sent a monkey outside earth's atmosphere and returned it safely. But photos they released raised international questions about whether the same animal was shown in pre- and post-launch images.

Officials in Iran said state media had mistakenly issued pictures of an alternative monkey that had not been chosen for the mission.