Iran launches satellite-capable rocket into space

A picture made available in January 2013 shows an Iranian rocket that carried a monkey into space. Iran said it successfully launched another rocket Thursday capable of carrying satellites into space. File photo by EPA

July 27 (UPI) — Iran said it successfully launched a rocket capable of carrying a satellite into space, marking what would be a significant step in the nation’s domestic space program.

The announcement, made on state-run Iranian television Thursday, said the nation successfully launched a “Simorgh” rocket capable of carrying a 550-lb. satellite into orbit, though it was not immediately clear whether the rocket was actually carrying a satellite or not.

The word “simorgh” in Farsi translates to phoenix.

The launch does not violate the terms of Iran’s deal with the United States and other Western nations to curb its nuclear program, though news Iran has made progress on developing long-range missiles has drawn rebukes from the international community and, if continued, could constitute a violation of the agreement.

The advances necessary to launch a rocket into space could aid Iran’s missile program technology, as well, Voice of America reported.

Iran has made ventures into space before, launching dummy satellites into orbit. In 2013, it launched a monkey into space and was able to retrieve the animal alive, the closest it has come to launching a human into orbit.

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