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Iran to put monkey into orbit

RIA Novosti

12:48 20/04/2011

MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - Iran plans to launch a monkey into space in mid-September, the ISNA news agency said on Wednesday, citing Iranian Space Agency head Hamid Fazeli.

The monkey will be sent into orbit in a capsule carried by the Kavoshgar-4 (or Explorer-4), rocket, which was test-launched with a monkey doll on board in mid-March.

Iran announced an ambitious space program in the mid-2000s. The country launched the Kavoshgar 1 rocket into space in February 2008.

The Kavoshgar 2 rocket, carrying a space lab and a restoration system, was launched in November 2008.

In February 2010, the Kavoshgar 3 rocket reportedly carried a test capsule with a rat, a turtle and worms into space.

Western powers suspect Iran of using its space program to develop ballistic missiles. Iran denies the allegations.

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