TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran will launch its 7th research rocket called Kavoshgar (Explorer) into space by the end of the next week, Deputy Defense Minister and Head of Iran'sAerospace Organization General Mehdi Farahi announced on Tuesday.
"Kavoshgar 7 will be launched next week as the next part of the plan to send living creatures into space," Farahi said in Kish Island today. Mehdi Farahi "6 Kavoshgars have already been sent into space so far, and this week the 7th Kavoshgar will be sent from Imam Khomeini base in Semnan province (Northern Iran) to an altitude 120km from the Earth," he added. Iran launched its first research rocket on Feb. 4, 2009, when it also announced activity of its first space center and its first indigenous satellite - called Omid, or Hope. Late in January, the Iranian Defense Ministry'sAerospace Industries Organization announced that it has sent a monkey into the space on the back of Pishgam (Pioneer) explorer rocket, and that it has brought back and recovered the living cargo. The Aerospace Industries Organization said it had sent the living creature into space aboard an indigenous biocapsule as a prelude to sending humans into space. The Aerospace Industries Organization said the capsule was sent to an orbit beyond 120km in altitude and carried out telemetry of the environmental data records. The explorer rocket was launched by the Aerospace Industries Organization and it returned to the Earth after reaching the desired speed and altitude, and the living creature (monkey) was retrieved and found alive. In mid-March 2011, ISA announced the launch of the Kavoshgar-4 rocket carrying a test capsule designed to house the monkey. The capsule had been unveiled in February 2011 by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with four new prototypes of home-built satellites. At the time, former Iran Space Agency (ISA) Chief Hamid Fazeli called the launch of a large animal into space as the first step towards sending a man into space, which Tehran says is scheduled for 2020. Iran had sent small animals into space - a rat, turtles and worms - aboard a capsule carried by its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010. The Islamic republic, which first put a satellite into orbit in 2009, has outlined an ambitious space program and has, thus far, made giant progress in the field despite western sanctions and pressures against its advancement. Iran has taken wide strides in aerospace. The country sent the first biocapsule of living creatures into space in February 2011, using its home-made Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier. Former president Ahmadinejad announced in 2010 that Iran plans to send astronauts into space in 2024. But, later he said that the issue had gone under a second study at a cabinet meeting and that the cabinet had decided to implement the plan in 2019, five years earlier than the date envisaged in the original plan. Omid (hope) was Iran's first research satellite that was designed for gathering information and testing equipment. After orbiting for three months, Omid successfully completed its mission without any problem. It completed more than 700 orbits over seven weeks and reentered the Earth's atmosphere on April 25, 2009. After launching Omid, Tehran unveiled three new satellites called Tolou, Mesbah II and Navid, respectively. Iran has also unveiled its latest achievements in designing and producing satellite carriers. A new generation of home-made satellites and a new satellite carrier called Simorgh (Phoenix) were among the latest achievements unveiled by Iran's aerospace industries. The milk-bottle shaped rocket is equipped to carry a 60-kilogram (132-pound) satellite 500 kilometers (310 miles) into orbit. The 27-meter (90 foot) tall multi-stage rocket weighs 85 tons and its liquid fuel propulsion system has a thrust of up to 143 tons. Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), which was set up in 1959. Â Â Â