They are seen briefly in this video:


The launch made international news, but there was no mention of the species.

Here's the entirety of Wikipedia's description of the launch:

On February 3, 2010, ISA launched a Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) rocket with one rodent, two turtles, and several worms into sub-orbital space and returned them to Earth alive. The rocket was enabled to transfer electronic data and live footage back to Earth. The Iranian Aerospace Organization (IAO) showed live video transmission of mini-environmental lab to enable further studies on the biological capsule. This was the first biological payload launched by Iran. Iran is the sixth country to send animals in space.

The Farsi language Wikipedia entry on the launch (کاوشگر ۳) does not appear to contain any more information on the species.

I've tried searching Google Scholar for papers, but my search turned up nothing. I also tried asking Reddit on the day of the launch, also without results.

Bounty Note: I appreciate all answers, especially from herpetologists. However, the bounty will only be awarded only for a reliable, third-party, published source (i.e. acceptable for use on Wikipedia).

  • $\begingroup$ We had this question here a while ago, it seems to be deleted. I looked for an answer back then and I wasn'T able to find one, so it has probably never been published. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Aug 8, 2014 at 7:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for looking. It was deleted shortly after posting because it was cross-posted to Space (after a suggestion here), and then apparently you're not allowed cross-posting so the Biology one was deleted. It was only here for a short time. But it seems they couldn't find an answer so it's been sent back. $\endgroup$
    – Qubei
    Aug 8, 2014 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ I apologize for the skepticism, but is there any indication this was a real turtle? $\endgroup$
    – Bitwise
    Aug 8, 2014 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ Can you try posting this on Skeptics SE? $\endgroup$ Aug 14, 2014 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


Sorry, too big for comment!

It's actually hard to tell, as there is no official claim on this one.

enter image description here Photo Link: http://youtu.be/nZoNdf6hlII?t=17s

Al I guess is, it can be:

  • Native breed of Iran like, Spur-Thighed Tortoise (Testudo graeca)

or something like this

(source: deserttortoise.org)

Trachemys scripta elegans


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