Ten Famous Animal Astronauts Who Were Sent Into Deep Space

Does the name Laika ring a bell? If not, then we are talking about one of the most famous animals sent into space but more of that later on. Even before humans were sent into space, it was animals that were experimented upon for observing the effects of space missions on living beings that would pave the way for a human spaceflight. Here are ten animal astronauts that were part of non-human space missions and spaceflights.

10 Mice

The US failed at several attempts to send mice into space. Between 1950 to 1959 several space vehicles containing mice continuously ended in the mice dying in space. In 1959, one project in 1958 named “Mouse in Able” resulted in all three mice specimens dying. In 1959, 14 mice perished after liftoff. It was in 1961, that the French Space center saw success when they sent a rat named hector into space at a height of 93 miles and returned safe and sound. Hector became the first rat in space.

 mice into space

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9 Guinea Pig

The first successful guinea pig project in space was on the Soviet Sputnik 9 spacecraft accompanied by a dog reptiles and mice. In 1990 China also successfully launched a space project aboard the satellite FSW-13 containing 60 plants and some animals which included guinea pigs. The specimens returned home safe.

Guinea Pig in space

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8 Newts

A not so nice mission to observe the effects of injuries in space was launched in 1985 under project name Bion 7. The front limbs of and lenses of Newts were cut off and sent off in space in that condition. Scientists observed that the Newts regenerated faster in space. Since then Newts have been part of several space experiments including Japan’s space flyer and the Mir space station.


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