Good News! Iranian Space Agency Confirms No Animals Used in Capsule Launch

Posted by on December 20, 2023 | Permalink

Update (20 December 2023):

Following outreach from PETA US urging it to end the use of animals in its space programme, the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) confirmed in a letter that “no real animals were used” during its space capsule launch on 6 December and that it instead opted for humane “simulation kits and sensors … to gather the necessary data”. PETA is applauding this step forward – but vows to keep tabs on the agency until it bans the use of animals completely.

The ISA put itself on the right side of history by sparing vulnerable animals a confusing, terrifying, and potentially deadly trip into space. PETA commends this compassionate move and continues to encourage the ISA to use only modern, animal-free technology in all its future endeavours.

Original post (13 December 2023):

PETA US sent a letter calling on the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) to stop its unconscionable and archaic use of animals in its programme, following reports that it launched a rocket sending live animals into space.


A monkey previously launched into space by the ISA.

Monkeys Are Not Astronauts With Tails

Monkeys aren’t tiny astronauts – they’re living beings who feel fear, confusion, and panic just as humans do. Primates are sensitive and intelligent animals, and they would likely experience extreme distress during the years of tests and training they are forced to endure in preparation for planned missions.

Unlike human volunteers, monkeys cannot give consent to being the subject of experiments or risking their lives on a mission into the unknown.

The Iranian Space Agency’s Dark History

The ISA has a well-documented history of exploiting animals in scientifically and morally bankrupt space-exploration efforts, including launching into orbit a terrified monkey who was crudely strapped into a restraint device in 2013.

The agency has also used monkeys, rodents, turtles, and worms in previous space missions.

In 2011, the then-head of the ISA, Hamid Fazeli, admitted that “[f]ive monkeys are being tested in order to be able to bear the environmental effects while launching”.

Deadly Space Programmes

Iran should not repeat the same deadly mistakes of space programmes using animals in experiments, which date as far back as the 1950s.

During the dark days of early space exploration, dogs, primates, and other animals around the globe died in horrific ways, including in crude experiments or all alone in a tiny spacecraft.

We are still disturbed by the tragic story of a homeless dog named Laika, who was captured in Moscow in the former USSR in 1950s to be used in space experiments. She was subjected to gruelling “training”, including being spun in a centrifuge, confined to a pressure chamber, and locked inside progressively smaller cages.

During the launch, Laika’s pulse shot up to three times its normal rate and she was so terrified that it remained elevated for an extended time. Temperatures inside the tiny spacecraft quickly soared, and within hours, she cooked to death. She died all alone and in severe pain.

No words can describe Laika’s death. She was one of many animals who lost their lives in cruel space experiments around the world. Nobody should have to go through this.

Iran, Make History

Iran’s space programme must align with the human-relevant science being pursued by the international community. We urge the ISA to ban the use of animals in experiments and switch to using effective, ethical, and economical animal-free methods.

We hope that the ISA will join the 21st century and make its animal experimentation programme history.

Take Action to End Experiments on Animals

In memory of Laika – and for all animals suffering in laboratories – sign our petition calling on the UK government to end all cruel, useless, and archaic experiments.