back to article Iran launches 'biological capsule' to low Earth orbit

Iran on Wednesday launched a "biological capsule" into low Earth orbit – an effort the nation's minister of communications claims is a precursor to crewed flights. The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), a state organ, reported that the capsule weighed 500 kilograms, was launched atop a "Salman" rocket, and reached an …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Maybe they should send up a few of their spiritual leaders first, just to check things out and ensure they can face Mecca whilst in orbit.

    1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Of course you can face Mecca while in orbit. Any of the qibla apps should work fine, so long as the device has a GPS chip which works up there. Or just look out of a porthole and work it out manually.

  2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Mushroom

    Too small

    500kg is too small for a manned capsule. Or at least I think it is. I just went and looked up Mercury (1.5t) and Vostok (2.5t) weights, and neither of them were exactly spacious. Vostok wasn't even capable of landing, Gagarin had to use a parachute.

    Being generous, it could of course just be a test system. GERBILS IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE!!

    On the other hand, one of the things that satellites don't do, and nuclear warheads do, is atmospheric re-entry. And this also needs to be tested. Hence my choice of icon.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Too small

      "GERBILS IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE!!"

      Maybe Muppets in Space?

  3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Debate continues regarding the ethics of subjecting animals to ordeal of spaceflight.

    Just so you know, that link goes to an American high school newsletter. Grown-ups may worry about these things too, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Given Iran's attitude and track record on human rights, it might be a bit optimistic to think that they'd take animal rights into consideration much.

  4. Conundrum1885

    500kg?

    That's not big enough for a WMD.

    IIRC, the smallest feasible gun-type physics package is about a ton and that is assuming 90% enrichment on the uranium.

    Switching to a composite design with a 239Pu "bullet" wouldn't help, that just makes things more complicated.

    Looked into this after watching "Oppenheimer" for reasons, even if somehow they could perfect implosion there is

    no way to test it without someone noticing.

    Implosion is extremely finicky and the margin for error exceedingly small, even in 1945 there were doubts.

    Wasting this much fissionable material is ludicrous, they would be better off using it for fuel.

    Now if they could nail down the timing (cough laser detonation /cough) but that adds yet more complexity

    and laser diodes with this sort of switching speed are themselves dual use.

    Disclaimer: I have looked into this but lack a Q-clearance.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a "Salman" rocket

    Named in honour of Mr Rushdie, presumably. Or designed to fire at him.

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