Iran will launch manned spacecraft
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Iran brings forward plan for manned space flight

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran plans to launch a manned spacecraft in seven years' time, two years earlier than its previous target, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday.

"In the near future we will be sending a communications probe into space whose lifespan will be one year," the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted him as saying in a live conversation on state television in the western city of Hamadan.

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds a peace symbol as he takes part in an anti-chemical weapon ceremony in Tehran June 29, 2010. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

"The government has undertaken plans so that we would be sending a manned spacecraft into space in seven years."

Ahmadinejad said last month Iran would send its first manned shuttle into space by 2019. In February Iran test-fired a domestically-made satellite carrying rocket Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3).

Western countries suspect Iran is trying to build nuclear bombs and are concerned the long-range ballistic technology used to... >>>

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