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The Forefront of Space Exploration

Iran's state-owned television service, PressTV, claimed on Monday that the country has sent a monkey into outer space. The animal, launched in a capsule code-named Pishgam, isn't the first organism launched by the Iran Space Agency. In 2010, Iran sent a rat and some turtles and worms into space aboard a Kavoshgar-3 rocket. A previous rocket involving a monkey, launched in 2011, resulted in the animal's death. While there has been no independent confirmation of the latest mission's success, Iranian scientists are touting the launch as 'yet another' achievement by Iran's nascent space program.

Animals have often served as the unwitting subjects of human innovation. Here's a look back at animals at the forefront of space exploration.

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