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  • Space Facts: Animals in Space

    September 20, 1951: Yorick the monkey and 13 mice made the first successful flight near space. They flew 45 miles into the atmosphere; space begins at 50 miles.

    Belka & StrelkaNovember 3, 1957: Laika, a stray Russian dog, was the first animal to successfully go into orbit. She flew 2000 miles into orbit.

    Between 1957 and 1961, 13 dogs from Russia made flights into space. One of the dogs, Strelka, later gave birth to six puppies. One of her puppies was given to President John F. Kennedy. The 1961 flight of Zvezdochka (Little Star) paved the way for Yuri Gagarin to become the first human in space. Gagarin flew on April 12, 1961.

    HamDecember 4, 1959: Two Rhesus monkeys, Sam and Miss Sam, completed their training for flight. Sam made a solo flight in December, and Miss Sam flew in January. Upon Sam's return to NASA headquarters, he gave Miss Sam a joyful embrace.

    January 31, 1961: Ham the chimpanzee proved that job functions could be performed in a weightless environment. The success of his flight led directly to America's first human suborbital flight by Alan Shepard on May 5, 1961.

    October 18, 1963: Felix, a stray French cat, flew on an AGI sounding rocket 120 miles into space.

    Other animals to make historic flights into space include the following:
  • Squirrel Monkeys
  • Japanese Killfish
  • Oyster Toad Fish
  • Crickets
  • Arabella Spiders
  • Green Tree Frogs
  • Bullfrogs
  • Harvester Ants
  • Fish Newts

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