x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Iran releases wrong space simian photo

A top Iranian official says despite the photo mix up, a monkey really did reach orbit and his name is Pishgam.

TEHRAN // A senior Iranian space official said today that one of two official photos of its famed simian space traveller depicted the wrong monkey, but that the primate really did fly up into orbit and return safely.

Mohammad Ebrahimi also said the monkey's name: Pishgam, or Pioneer in Farsi. The Iranian media originally said that the "Pishgam" was the rocket which reportedly took him Monday into space and returned him to earth after 20 minutes.

Mr Ebrahimi said photos of two different monkeys were released by the Iranian media. One was an archive photo of a backup monkey.

Iran says it is working toward manned space flight. The US and its allies worry that the technology could also be used to develop long-range missiles.