Sanction-hit Iran achieved a significant milestone in its space ambitions on Wednesday, December 6, by successfully launching a prototype of a 'bio-space capsule'.
The Iranian-made Salman rocket carried a 500kg capsule containing animals, said to be the heaviest in the country's space history, to an orbit of 130km, reported by Tasnim News Agency.
"In line with the implementation of the ten-year document of the country's space industry, the 'Life in Space' program has been revived," said Iranian Communication Minister Eisa Zarepour.
- Iran heightened its space activities, including military launches, amidst uncertainty surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal post-US withdrawal in 2018.
- In September, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps deployed a third imaging satellite into orbit.
- Geopolitically, concerns persist over Iran's development of long-range ballistic missiles, drawing condemnation from the US and its allies.
- Despite challenges posed by US sanctions, Iran expanded space cooperation with Russia, signing deals for new satellites. This collaboration gains significance amid Russia's isolation post-2022 Ukraine invasion.
With only Russia, the United States, and China possessing independent human spaceflight capabilities, Iran aims to join this exclusive club. India's Gaganyaan project stands as a serious contender in this pursuit.
What are space capsules?
- Space capsules, crewed or uncrewed missions are spacecraft designed to transport humans, animals, or cargo to and from space.
- SpaceX's, Crew Dragon and the Russian Soyuz are fine examples of crewed capsules.
- Bio capsules are such space capsules that are designed to sustain life, humans or animals.
Reviving 'Life in Space'
- The launch signals Iran's commitment to its long-term goal of human spaceflight called 'Life in Space.'
- Hossein Dalirian, a spokesperson for Iran's space agency, credited President Ebrahim Raisi 's administration for their dedication to the objective.
- According to Reuters, the development comes after a decade of Iran's claim of successfully launching two live monkeys into space and safely retrieving them.
- According to Al-Jazeera, Iran is currently capable of launching small satellites.
- However, it faces multiple technological hurdles to achieve human spaceflight, which is a long way.
- They must develop larger and more reliable launch vehicles, crew capsules, life support systems, reentry technology, and parachute systems if they want to send humans into space.
- According to the Iranian Communication Minister, their ambition is to fly astronauts by 2030.