Iran state media reported on Saturday that they had sent a monkey into space as the country tiptoes towards manned space flight. The monkey was sent 72 miles up and then came back down in a mission lasting about 15 minutes.
As opposed to Iran's first space monkey mission back in January, this rocket allegedly used liquid fuel instead of solid fuel, which meant that the craft achieved only half the top speed of the previous mission. It did, however, according to reports, reach the same height.
For the 1st time, using liquid propellant, a living creature--monkey named Fargam--was sent into space and returned safe & sound. 1/2— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) December 14, 2013
The rocket was named 'Pahojesh,' which means 'research' in Farsi, and the male rhesus monkey was named 'Fargam,' which means 'auspicious.' Scientists on state-run TV said that Fargam was in good condition after the experiment. The next mission will supposedly test larger animals.
In total, this is the 2nd monkey sent into space & returned in perfect health to #Iran. I congratulate the Leader, scientists & the nation— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) December 14, 2013
A State Department spokesperson told reporters, "our concerns with Iran's development of space launch vehicle technologies are obviously well-known: Any space launch vehicle capable of placing an object in orbit is directly relevant to the development of long-range ballistic missiles."
Important to keep in mind is that all of this monkey business is coming from Iran's government, and is almost impossible to verify independently. Back in January, after the first space flight, some proposed that Iran was merely grandstanding and had faked the mission.