Iran Says 'Me Too' To The Space Race; Pledges To Launch A Monkey Into Space By The End Of The Summer
from the oddly,-there's-no-mention-of-'monkey-retrieval' dept
This newest simian recruit will join several other less-"manned" vehicles in orbit, including the Rassad-1 (Observation 1) satellite and four other satellites (still unnamed, although my money's on "Rassad 2-5") to be launched by 2012. The Rassad-1 has a 60-day life span (easily rivaling most major retail store return policies) and will be used to "photograph the planet and transmit images," albeit in a non-spying sort of way, according to the government-owned media.
If successful, Iran will join other world superpowers in launching rocket-powered, monkey-navigated vehicles across the metaphorical alkali flats of space, including the United States (1948), France (1967), the Soviet Union (1983 -- and the only country to use real live astronauts as test monkeys) and Argentina (1969 -- although its first attempt fell short of the international definition of space and was recorded as only "like my roommate 70% of the time -- really, really high").
Western powers have expressed concern that this belated space program is really just a ballistic missle plan in astronaut's clothing. However, Tehran has denied any such connection between their newest rocket plans and their older plans for cobbling together nuclear devices out of whatever plutonium anyone can throw their way. Various government spokespersons (ha! they're actually all male!) stated that further press releases would be issued via their proprietary internet as "classified internal memos."