On Iran’s National Day of Space Technology, celebrated this year on February 17, the country unveiled a prototype of a spacecraft allegedly capable of sending a human to space.
Authorities say the trial test will be conducted this year bringing the country closer to its wildest dream of sending a first astronaut where no Iranian has ever been before.
Iranian officials previously had reported that the country plans to send human into space within 4 years.
Director of Iran Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli said in 2013 that his country plans to send human beings to half-hour space missions in four years. He pointed to Iran’s plans to send big animals, including chimpanzees, into the space in the near future and noted that the next phase of the project is to send human beings aboard a bio-capsule to a specific altitude into the outer space and returning them within less than 30 minutes.
Tehran also recently announced that it will perform its first sub-orbital spaceflight by 2016.
On February 2, the country successfully launched Fajr satellite to space using a Safir-2 rocket.
In 2013, the country also sent two monkeys into space and safely returned them to the ground and before that In 2010, Iran sent several small animals into space, including a rat and a turtle.
Iran launched its first domestically-produced satellite in 2009. The country plans to send several more satellites into space by March 2016. The main function of the spacecraft is to transmit images of the Earth’s surface to ground stations.
Iran’s space program has been subject to international concerns amid fears that it could be developing its rocket technology for military purposes, a charge which Tehran denies.
Last week, Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi announced that Iran plans to expand its space program. However, reports emerged that the country might have canceled the program in early January.