Iran sends a monkey into space - and back

 

After training for the trip for more than a year, a monkey was yesterday successfully launched into space by Iran atop its latest Kavoshgar-3 rocket. The state news agency, Fars, later reported that the scientists had “brought back and recovered the living cargo.”

In this respect the nameless simian was extremely fortunate: if it had been able to read Wikipedia, it is unlikely that it would have consented to this reckless ride. The previous Iranian attempt to launch a monkey concluded “without achieving all [the mission’s] objectives” as a spokesman put it, with a hint of euphemism. No further detail was given.

For monkeys have never been lucky in space. After successfully launching and retrieving a cargo of fruit flies, the US in 1948 sent Albert, a rhesus monkey, 68 kms up atop a V2 rocket. He died of suffocation during the flight. Albert II, who followed him a year later, was burned to a crisp when his parachute failed to open. At this point a new, luckier name might have been tried but instead they stuck with Albert, and number III was torn to pieces when the rocket blew up. Albert IV went the same way as Albert II. After yet another parachute failure put paid to Albert V, Albert VI – who went up with a mouse called Yorick – became the first monkey to return to earth alive, only to die two hours after landing.

Iran’s monkey follows in the wake of an earlier live payload, consisting of rats, turtles and, significantly some might say, a can of worms. Like the numerous heroic American Alberts, the point was to demonstrate that a creature not all that different from a human being could go up and come down in one piece. Iran makes no secret of the fact that it hopes to get a human being into space by 2020, and on the moon by 2025.

Iran expert Sir Richard Dalton told The Independent that the stress on sending up a living organism was a way of showing the West that “the exercise was consistent with Iran’s claim that it has legitimate uses for its rocket expertise, and that it was a modern power with all the attributes of a second ranking country with more to it than the other states in the region – that it was up there with the likes of India.”

Dr Patricia Lewis of Chatham House commented, “A lot of countries are looking at space and putting up satellites, and it’s a very sensible idea – it’s significant that the UK, after pulling out in the 1980s for cost-saving reasons, has come back into the space race.” This time around the point of landing on the moon would not be so much for national prestige, she said, as potentially to mine its minerals, “though the economics of that are not yet clear.”

Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, an Iranian scholar based in the UK, said the launch of the monkey was further proof of “a definite emphasis on science and engineering in Iran as being consonant with Islam – a way of demonstrating that Islam and progress come together and don’t undermine each other.” It was also, he added a way “to boost the nation’s credibility internationally – and to show that sanctions aren’t working.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

SAP BW BO

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

HSE Manger - Solar

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried