Iran sends off a space monkey

monkeyAt least, according to Iranian state-run television.

Iran released photos of the monkey strapped into a harness just before being launched into space. This time, the monkey returned to Earth safely. Previous launches successfully sent a turtle, a rat and worms into space with all of them returning in one piece, but a previous launch with a monkey in 2011 was “not successful,” and Iran did not reveal what actually happened to the monkey.

Iran says the launches are to advance their space program and President Ahmadinejad has stated he wants to see a man in space by 2020. But the West is balking at the launches, claiming that they’re just a front to expanding their long-range missile capabilities. Iran has made several launches in the past few years to test the durability of their missiles’ warheads.

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