Arabic-language channel Al-Alam and other Iranian news agencies said the monkey returned alive after travelling in a capsule to an altitude of 120 kilometres for a sub-orbital flight. “This success is the first step towards man conquering the space and it paves the way for other moves,” Ahmad Vahidi told state television “Today’s successful launch follows previous successes we had in launching (space) probes with other living creatures (on board),” he said. The monkey which was sent in this launch landed safely and alive and this is a big step for our experts and scientists.”
The Week however, has reported that …something was amiss: Upon further inspection, it appears the monkey that returned from space doesn’t match the monkey that left. Images newly released from a press conference prior to the launch show a monkey with light fur and a conspicuous red mole above its eye. The mole is mysteriously missing on the monkey that returned, which also has notably darker hair ::::
“It looks like a very different monkey, the nose, the features, everything is different,” Yariv Bash, founder of a nonprofit working to send an unmanned Israeli spaceship to the moon, told The Telegraph. “This means that either the original monkey died from a heart attack after the rocket landed or that the experiment didn’t go that well.”
Iranian state television showed still pictures of the capsule and of a monkey being fitted with a vest and then placed in a device similar to a child’s car-seat. A previous attempt in 2011 by the Islamic republic to put a monkey into space failed. No official explanation was ever given.
Iran announced in mid-January its intention to launch a monkey into orbit as part of “preparations for sending a man into space,” which is scheduled for 2020. Iran’s space program deeply unsettles Western nations, which fear it could be used to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads they suspect are being developed in secret.
The same technology used in space launch rockets can also be used in ballistic missiles. The United Nations Security Council has imposed on Iran an almost total embargo on nuclear and space technologies since 2007. Tehran has repeatedly denied that its nuclear and scientific programs mask military ambitions.
source: the week
Ready, Steady, G… South Korea Prepares For Space Launch
At about the same time as Iran’s monkey business was lifting off, South Korea was preparing for its third attempt to send a satellite into orbit, in the wake of North Korea’s successful launch in December.
Philippines disaster management officials are on alert, after Seoul reported plans to launch a satellite for scientific exploration, using the 140-tonne Korea Space Launch Vehicle, sometime between Wednesday and February 8..
A ban on sailing, fishing and flying over an area stretching 540 kilometres east of the Philippines has been enforced as a precautionary measure for South Korea’s expected rocket launch.
The coast guard, navy, and fisheries bureau have joined local government authorities in watching over fifteen provinces along the eastern border where the rocket may pass.
Airlines have been asked to divert around the no-fly zone.
South Korea has previously failed in launches in 2009 and 2010, and the latest launch comes in the wake of North Korea’s successful launch of a satellite in December.
Despite a very successful satellite construction programme, South Korea lags behind other Asian powers with proven launch capability, China, Japan and India.
Initially scheduled for October 26, the launch has already been twice postponed for technical reasons. This will be the last launch under the current agreement with Russia, which is providing the first stage of the rocket, with South Korea providing the second stage.
Seoul’s space ambitions were restricted for many years by its main military ally the United States, which feared that a robust missile or rocket programme would accelerate a regional arms race, especially with North Korea.
After joining the Missile Technology Control Regime in 2001, South Korea made Russia its go-to space partner, but the relationship has not been an easy one.
In 2009, the rocket achieved orbit but faulty release mechanisms on the second stage prevented proper deployment of the satellite. The second effort in 2010 saw the rocket explode two minutes into its flight, with both Russia and South Korea pointing the finger of blame at each other.