One of the 24 founding members of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 1959, Iran sent its first satellite into space in 2009. Other launches have followed, including of an orbiter capable of transmitting images of, and to, Earth.
Monday's reported launch of the monkey -- who was kept in a "completely sealed" capsule that produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide, with his vital signs recorded throughout the flight -- is part of a larger effort to someday send humans into space, said Iranian Space Agency Director Hamid Fazeli.
It's not the first time animals have reached the skies ahead of humans. The U.S. space program launched a rhesus monkey into space from New Mexico in 1948. Other primates and mice followed, and the Soviet Union a few years later joining the animal space race when nine dogs went skyward aboard rockets.
Many more creatures soared into space in the years to come, until Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited Earth in April 1961. American astronaut Alan Shepard made a suborbital flight later that year, and John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth in 1962.