Iran sends into space biological capsule aboard indigenous launcher
Iran has successfully put into orbit its newest bio-space capsule with the domestically-built Salman launcher.
According to Press TV, the 500-kilogram capsule, developed by the Aerospace Research Institute of Iran, affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, was launched to an altitude of 130 kilometers from the Earth's surface on Wednesday.
The launch is a step to send humans into space in line with the Iranian government’s plan to revive various sectors of the space industry and consolidate bio-space knowledge.
It was a test for space technologies in the areas of launch, recovery and speed control systems, as well as impact shields, capsule aerodynamic design, and the systems related to control and monitoring of biological conditions.
Salman launcher is manufactured by the Aerospace Industries Organization, a subsidiary of the Iranian Defense Ministry. It is capable of launching bio-capsules weighing 500 kilograms.
Despite sanctions imposed by Western countries in recent years, Iran has managed to take giant strides in its civilian space program.
Iran sent its first bio-capsule containing living creatures into space in February 2010, using a Kavoshgar (Explorer) carrier.
Speaking to Fars news agency, Iran’s Telecoms Minister Issa Zare'pour said Tehran will soon conduct suborbital tests of the new generation of bio-capsules, hoping that they will bring the country closer to its space goals.
The capsule launched on Wednesday “is about half a ton and has the ability to carry a human, but its suborbital tests are underway,” he added.
“It should be taken into account that we are still 5 to 6 years away from reaching the point where we can send humans into space.”
Zare'pour also noted that the Islamic Republic is trying to revitalize works in the field of launching biological capsules after a 10-year closure.
Iran is among the top 10 countries leading the space industry and among the 7 leading the bio-space.