TEHRAN, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Iran will send several monkeys into space aboard the Pishgam (Pioneer) space capsule in the near future, Tehran Times daily reported on Wednesday.
Director of Iran Space Agency Hamid Fazeli announced on Tuesday that the space capsule, which will be launched during the 10-Day Dawn ceremonies, has gone through final tests and is ready for launch, according to the report.
The 10-Day Dawn ceremonies, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 10, mark the anniversary of the victory of Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979.
The plan to send living creatures into space is part of the project to send human beings into space, Fazeli said, adding that the project will be carried out over the course of five to eight years.
In December 2012, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said that Iran was to unveil new space achievements on Feb. 2, 2013, Iran's Space Technology Day.
In June 2012, the defense minister said Iran's new space center, named Imam Khomeini Space Center, would be inaugurated in the future and the Iranian scientists and experts from the Aerospace Industry Organization of the Defense Ministry would send new generation of the Islamic republic's satellites from the center into orbit.
As the first step, Vahidi said, the Tolou (dawn) satellite would be sent into space from the space center.
Iran, a founding member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, launched its first domestically-made data-processing satellite, the Omid (Hope), into space in 2009.