Iran mulls Persian cat as next animal astronaut - New York News

Iran mulls Persian cat as next animal astronaut

Posted: Updated:

By NASSER KARIMI

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's hunt for its next animal astronaut may turn to the distinctive and locally named Persian cat, an official said Monday, in another possible step by the country's ambitious aerospace program that has also raised Western concerns about spillover military applications.

The report by the official IRNA news agency comes seven months after Iran claimed it launched a monkey out of earth's atmosphere and successfully returned it home. The account, however, faced international questions after photos appeared to show different monkeys in pre- and post-launch images.

A senior space program official, Mohammad Ebrahimi, said at the time that state media mistakenly sent a photo of an alternate monkey that was not used in the February launch. He insisted just one monkey, Pishgam or Pioneer, was sent on the 20-minute flight to a height of 120 kilometers (72 miles) and returned safely.

In 2010, Iranian officials said it sent a mouse, a turtle and some worms on a space flight — part of the country's goals of sending a human into space by 2018 and becoming a leading tech center for the Islamic world.

Ebrahimi said Iran's next space capsule could carry the Persian cat, a long-haired, flat-faced breed named after Iran's former name of Persia. He said the launch will happen by the end of Iran's current year, which ends March 21. The report said a mouse and rabbit also are under consideration.

Ebrahimi said the next launch would be with a larger, liquid-fueled rocket. Past launches were done with solid-fueled boosters whose technology can be used in long-range missiles. He said it will be launched to a 120-kilometer (72-mile) level, too.

He did not elaborate on the rocket change, but it could be viewed as an attempt to ease international concerns at a time when Iran's new moderate-leaning president, Hasan Rouhani, is seeking to revive nuclear talks with world powers.

Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation, improve telecommunications and expand military surveillance in the region.

Earlier this year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wanted to be Iran's first astronaut.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:11:38 GMT
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
  • New MTA bus routes take effect

    New MTA bus routes take effect

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:51:36 GMT
    MTAMTA
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
  • 3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:47:41 GMT
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices