World

Iran sends capsule with animals into orbit as it prepares for human missions

A rocket with a capsule carrying animals was launched from an undisclosed location into orbit (Iranian defence ministry via AP)
A rocket with a capsule carrying animals was launched from an undisclosed location into orbit (Iranian defence ministry via AP) A rocket with a capsule carrying animals was launched from an undisclosed location into orbit (Iranian defence ministry via AP)

Iran has sent a capsule into orbit carrying animals as it prepares for human missions in the coming years, officials said.

A report by the official IRNA news agency quoted telecommunications minister Isa Zarepour as saying the capsule was launched 80 miles into orbit.

Mr Zarepour said the launch of the 1,000lb capsule is aimed at sending Iranian astronauts to space in the coming years. He did not say what kind of animals were in the capsule.

State TV showed footage of a rocket named Salman carrying the capsule into space.

Iran Space Capsule
Iran Space Capsule Iran is preparing for manned launches in the coming years (Iranian defence ministry via AP)

Iran occasionally announces successful launches of satellites and other spacecraft.

In September, Iran said it sent a data-collecting satellite into space. In 2013, the country sent a monkey into space and returned it successfully.

It says its satellite programme is for scientific research and other civilian applications.

The US and other Western countries have long been suspicious of the programme because the same technology can be used to develop long-range missiles.