Iran succeeded in sending a monkey into space on Monday, BBC News reports. The launch, considered by many to be one of the final steps before a manned space mission, marks a milestone in Iran's space program. The country aims to send a man into space by 2019, the BBC said.
While the monkey's safe return to Earth signifies that Iran's space program is headed in the right direction for human flight, experts disagree on the real significance of the launch.
"A slight monkey on a suborbital flight is nothing to get too excited about," said George Washington University space policy professor John Logsden in a report from Time. "They already had the capability to launch warheads in their region."
While Iran says their space program is meant for "peaceful purposes," this launch still violates the U.N. Security Council's ruling that Iran is forbidden from any ballistic missile activity.
While the U.S. has expressed concern over the launch, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said there is no way to confirm the monkey's journey was successful, according to Time.
Iran's state TV broadcast images of the monkey, wearing a small flight suit and strapped into a safety seat, being prepped for flight. Iranian state TV reports that the country plans on sending a larger animal into orbit for further safety tests before proceeding with a manned flight, Time said.