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Space Monday, January 28th 2013 at 8:33 am

Iran Put A Monkey In Space, And Apparently Got It Back Safely, Too

Reuters is reporting that the aerospace arm of Iran’s defense ministry has successfully launched a monkey into space and retrieved it alive, thereby pushing Iran’s young space program leaps and bounds forward, all the way into the 1950s. We would say welcome to the party, Iran, but frankly, the idea of you having rockets really just makes everyone uncomfortable, so… come in if you have to, I guess?

According to Iran’s state-run news agency, IRNA, the monkey’s trip wasn’t a particularly long or eventful one, more or less providing proof of concept that Iran can send a live monkey into space and get a live monkey back, as reports indicate that a rhesus monkey launched into space by the country in 2011 was not as lucky. The rocket carrying it was apparently launched last week, and the capsule housing it — Pishgam, or Pioneer — travelled 75 miles into space for a bit of sub-orbital flight before returning to Earth, apparently safe and sound.

That’s kind of a shame, really, considering that crippling sanctions and a dictatorial regime run by religious fundamentalists mean that being jammed in a tiny capsule and fired into space represents a pretty nice break from living in Iran. We assume this is true even for monkeys.

Of course, this is all according to the nation’s state-run news, so even the most modest claims can afford to taken with a grain of salt. After all, it’s pretty hard to confirm stories from tyrannical dictatorships that hold tight reins over their own news services, which is the same reason we’re having hard time getting any information about a possible huge damn explosion, which may have been an airstrike, in one of the nation’s nuclear facilities last week.

That said, if I had an explosion at one of my nuclear plants, I’d want to talk about a space monkey instead too. Because hey, embarrassing, right?

(via Reuters)

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