A sketch released by the Iranian Space Agency reveals that the Islamic Republic may soon join the exclusive club that has the ability to travel to outer space. The US, China and Russia are the only countries that have managed to send manned missions to outer space.

Photo Credit: Tal Inbar

Iran provides a rare glimpse into its space program.  The Iranian Institute for Space Research published its initial draft of its first manned spacecraft that was locally produced.  In a conversation with Israel’s Channel 2 News, Tal Inbar, the head of the Fischer Center for Space Research, stated that if the draft is precise, then Iran may indeed be able to bring a human being into outer space.

The chart published concerns a sub-orbital flight (a flight that cannot enter the orbit around the earth) and is largely compatible with the expectations of many western scholars about Iran’s space program. The space program was initially declared by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the authorities within the country previously stated that they desire to develop the program into a manned spacecraft.

“There are so far only three countries that have manned missions into space—-the United States, the Soviet Union and China,” Inbar stated. “The planned flights are reminiscent of the first US space flights, which lasted about 15 minutes. This is not a space ship for a long stay, but it is a propaganda achievement.”

Already in 2013, two Iranian space researchers stated that they will be able to carry up to three people in a low orbit flight for several hours. Iran claims that it is the most economical space craft designed to date.