Animals in Space – True Pioneers of the Final Frontier
The first animals sent into space were fruit flies. They traveled aboard a V-2 rocket launched in the US in 1947. After spending just moments in space, the flies returned to earth and were recovered alive.
Some other intrepid travelers were not so lucky
The first monkey launched into space was Albert II in 1949. Unfortunately, his parachute failed on re-entry.
Safe Travels for Puppy Astronauts
Canine cosmonauts Strelka and Belka spent a whole day in space aboard the Sputnik 2 on 19 August 1960. Besides their canine companionship, they also had a rabbit, mice, rats, flies, and plants to keep them company. All members of the space party landed back to Earth safely.
In fact, Strelka went on to have six puppies, one of which was given as a gift to John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline, by Soviet politician Nikita Khrushchev.
In 2014, Strelka’s spacesuit sold for $18,000 in 2014.
If you are ever in the mood to visit the puppy space crusaders, you can find them taxidermied and on display at the Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow.