Towards manned orbital mission: Iran to build its own spacecraft
8 June 2014, 13:55 -- Iran has announced that it is planning to build its own orbital spaceship, the Fars news agency reports citing the head of the Iranian national space project, Mansur Kabganian.
He said that 'the first Iranian spacecraft will weigh at least 100 kg.' According to the head of the project, the spaceship will be put into a low Earth orbit by a rocket of domestic production, which will be equipped with engines running on liquid fuel.
'The whole program,' Kabganian noted, 'can be conditionally divided into several stages: launch, orbiting, reentry and safe landing.'
'Our experts are currently working on all the phases to reduce the risks from emergency situations' he added.
Engineers from the Iranian Haji Nasir Institute have already developed a prototype of a manned spacecraft. Judging by reports in the Iranian press, it may be a space capsule with an emergency bailout system that has room for up to three people and a minimal amount of scientific and measuring equipment.
The new Iranian spaceship will not be built 'from scratch.' According to the Fars news agency, it may represent an enlarged copy of a ship that has already been into space in 2013 and carried a small capsule with a monkey on board.
That spacecraft, put in a 120 km orbit by the rocket carrier Pishgam (Pioneer), remained in the space for 15 minutes, and then made a soft landing. The monkey was not harmed. The agency emphasizes that during the whole flight, information about the monkey's health was continuously broadcast from the spaceship to the Earth.
The next step in the ambitious Iranian space program is to carry out a manned mission, according to the Iranian Space Agency. Its former director, Hamid Fazeli, told the media that Iran plans to put send a human into space in 2020.
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