TEHRAN, Iran - Iran said Monday it has successfully sent a monkey into space, describing the launch as another step toward Tehran's goal of a manned space flight.
According to a brief report on state TV, the rocket dubbed Pishgam, or Pioneer in Farsi, reached a height of 72 miles. The report gave no other details on the timing or location of the launch, but said the monkey returned to earth safely.
Iran has long said it seeks to send an astronaut into space as part of its ambitious aerospace program, including plans for a new space center announced last year. In 2010, Iran said it launched an Explorer rocket into space carrying a mouse, turtle and worms.
The U.S. and its allies worry that technology from the space program could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads. Iran denied it seeks atomic weapons and claims it is pursuing nuclear reactors only for energy and medical applications.
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