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Iran plans first manned mission to space by 2017

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TEHRAN (BNS): Iran will launch the country’s first manned mission to space by 2017 despite sanctions by the West, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said.

"The plan is in line with an Iran space agency program to produce and place in orbit a spacecraft at an altitude of more than 35,000 kilometers," news agency IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

The country's growth and scientific breakthroughs in different areas are occurring despite the West's sanctions against the Islamic Republic; he was quoted as saying during a visit in the western Iranian city of Hamedan on Thursday.

According to Iranian officials, in 2009 the country’s Aerospace Organization started a 12-year project to send an astronaut into space by 2021. However, the government after reviewing the space mission recently decided to launch a manned shuttle into space by 2019.

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