Press TV, the state-run satellite broadcaster, reported Monday that the animal was launched in a space capsule code named Pishgam, or Pioneer.
Earlier in the month on January 15, the director of Iran Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli said because of biological similarities between humans and monkeys, the latter were selected for the space mission, according to Press TV.
ISA director stated that Iran’s first manned mission to space would be launched within the next five to eight years.
Fazeli also said that the indigenous Sharifsat satellite will be put into the orbit by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, which ends on March 20.
The state news agency, IRNA, said the monkey was sent into space on a Kavoshgar rocket that reached a height of 75 miles and “returned its shipment intact,” Reuters reported. The monkey survived, according to Press TV.
The timing of the reported launching was unclear, either on Monday or within the past few days. An earlier attempt to launch a monkey into space in 2011 was reported to have failed.
A year earlier, Iran said it sent a mouse, a turtle and worms into space.
The idea of using animals as a precursor to human spaceflight dates to the 1940s and 1950s and became part of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war.
United States scientists sent a rhesus monkey into space in 1949 but the animal died when a parachute malfunctioned. The Soviet Union lofted dogs into space in 1951 and they returned to earth.
In 1957, Moscow’s scientists were the first to launch an animal, a dog called Laika, into orbit. The Soviet Union also won the race to send a human aloft when Yuri A. Gagarin became the first man to orbit the globe in 1961.