Iran is claiming Wednesday to have launched a capsule into orbit that is capable of carrying animals.
Telecommunications Minister Isa Zarepour told the state-run IRNA news agency that the launch of the 1,000-pound capsule – which he says went 80 miles into orbit – is aimed at sending Iranian astronauts to space in coming years, according to The Associated Press.
Zarepour told state TV that Iran plans to send astronauts into space by 2029 after further tests involving animals, but it’s unclear if any animals were aboard the most recent launch.
Images released by Iran’s Defense Ministry appear to show a rocket named Salman blasting off a pad at an undisclosed location.
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Iran occasionally announces successful launches of satellites and other spacecrafts. In September, Iran said it sent a data-collecting satellite into space.
Last May, an Iranian satellite placed into orbit months earlier reportedly sent back a photo of the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain as part of its first batch of high-resolution images.
“Who would have thought that one day an Iranian satellite stationed at an orbit of 311 miles can carry out color imaging from the entire surface of the Earth and send the images to ground stations that have also been built by the Iranian youth,” Zarepour reportedly wrote in an Instagram post at the time.
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Zarepour added that “this is the first time that a homegrown satellite has sent back high resolution true-color images.”
In 2013, Iran said it sent a monkey into space and returned it successfully.
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Reports said the country’s Defense Ministry built and launched the Salman rocket while the capsule was built by the Iranian civil space agency, the AP also reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.