“A one-ton explorer will be sent to orbit at an altitude of 150 to 200 kilometers from the earth this year,” Head of Iran’s Aerospace Research Institute Mohammad Ebrahimi, who also supervises Iran’s project for sending man into space, said in an interview with the state-run Islamic republic news agency on Monday.
He said that the geometrical specifications of the explorer rocket to be used in this launch will be similar to the previous ones, but the new rocket is cylindrospheric in form, that is a mixture of cylinder and sphere.
Ebrahimi explained that the rocket enjoys recovery and backup systems which make its launch more reliable and safe.
He said once this explorer is sent to the orbit, the third step to send astronauts into suborbital space will be taken.
In January 2013, Iran announced that it has sent a monkey into the space on the back of Pishgam (Pioneer) explorer rocket and that it has brought back and recovered the living cargo.
The former Iranian defense minister said his ministry’s Aerospace Industries Organization sent the living creature into space aboard an indigenous bio-capsule as a prelude to sending humans into space.
The Aerospace Industries Organization said the capsule was sent to an orbit beyond 120km in altitude and carried out telemetry of the environmental data records.
The explorer rocket was launched by the Aerospace Industries Organization and it returned to the Earth after reaching the desired speed and altitude, and the living creature (monkey) was retrieved and found alive.
In mid-March 2011, Iran’s Space Agency (ISA) announced the launch of the Kavoshgar-4 rocket carrying a test capsule designed to house the monkey.
The capsule had been unveiled in February 2011 by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with four new prototypes of home-built satellites.
At the time, Director of Iran Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli called the launch of a large animal into space as the first step towards sending a man into space, which Tehran says is scheduled for 2020.
Iran has already sent small animals into space – a rat, turtles and worms – aboard a capsule carried by its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010.
The Islamic republic, which first put a satellite into orbit in 2009, has outlined an ambitious space program and has, thus far, made giant progress in the field despite western sanctions and pressures against its advancement.
Iran has taken wide strides in aerospace. The country sent the first biocapsule of living creatures into space in February 2011, using its home-made Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier.
Ahmadinejad announced in 2010 that Iran plans to send astronauts into space in 2024. But, later he said that the issue had gone under a second study at a cabinet meeting and that the cabinet had decided to implement the plan in 2019, five years earlier than the date envisaged in the original plan.
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