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.
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