Iran said on Monday it had launched a live monkey into space, seeking to show off missile systems that have alarmed the West because the technology could potentially be used to deliver a nuclear warhead.
The Defense Ministry announced the launch as world powers sought to agree a date and venue with Iran for resuming talks to resolve a standoff with the West over Tehran’s contested nuclear program before it degenerates into a new Middle East war.
Efforts to nail down a new meeting have failed repeatedly and the powers fear Iran is exploiting the diplomatic vacuum to hone the means to produce nuclear weapons.
The Islamic Republic denies seeking weapons capability and says it seeks only electricity from its uranium enrichment so it can export more of its considerable oil wealth.
An unmanned, privately owned Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Sunday on a mission to restore a U.S. supply line to the International Space Station after the retirement of the space shuttle.
Powered by nine oxygen and kerosene-burning engines, the 157-foot (48-meter) tall rocket, built by Space Exploration Technologies, lifted off from its seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:35 p.m. EDT.
“This was a critical event for NASA and the nation tonight,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Just over a year after the retirement of the space shuttle, we have returned space station cargo-resupply missions to U.S. soil.”
U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, was praised in a NASA memorial service at the National Cathedral on Thursday as a humble hero who led mankind into space.
Mourners who filled the vast Episcopal cathedral to mark Armstrong’s death last month heard him eulogized as a dedicated team player who shunned the limelight for decades after piloting the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.
In this image from NASA TV, shot off a video screen, one of the first images from the Curiosity rover is pictured of its wheel after it successfully landed on Mars.
The video screen was inside the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California August 5, 2012. The Curiosity rover landed successfully landed on the surface of Mars. [REUTERS/Courtesy NASA TV/Handout]
The Milky Way shines in the sky behind a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle parked at the entry to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Goode near the town of Gardez in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province July 9, 2012. [REUTERS/Lucas Jackson]
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured Space Exploration Technologies’ unmanned Dragon cargo capsule on Friday, the first private ship to reach the orbital outpost.
Using the station’s robot arm, NASA astronaut Don Pettit latched on to the capsule at 9:56 a.m. EDT (1356 GMT) as the two vehicles sailed at 17,500 mph around Earth. Dragon, which is making a test flight under a NASA contract with the company, known as SpaceX, was expected to be attached to a station docking port later on Friday.
SpaceX is one of two firms hired by NASA to fly cargo to the station following the retirement of the space shuttles last year.
READ MORE: Astronauts snare SpaceX Dragon capsule- NASA
The space shuttle Discovery, attached to a modified NASA 747 aircraft, takes off headed for its final home at The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida April 17, 2012. [REUTERS/Joe Skipper]