Ten Famous Animal Astronauts Who Were Sent Into Deep Space
In 1970, two bullfrogs were sent into space as part of the Orbiting Frog Otolith 9 (OFO) space programme. It sought to study how the otolith (a mechanism controlling equilibrium in the inner ear) would adapt to a weightless environment. Although the project was successful revealing the right data, unfortunately the Frogs did not recover.
Pursuing the otolith programme program further, scientists sent a pair of mummichog fish into space on a spacecraft called the Skylab 3 in 1973. The fish species were chosen because of their ability to withstand extreme conditions. Subsequent programmes led to other species being sent into space such as swordtails, oyster toadfish, zebra and guppies.
5 Turtles & Tortoises
Among the first animal astronauts were turtles. Two turtles were sent into deep space aboard the Soviet spacecraft Zond 5 in 1968. After a loop around the moon, the spacecraft returned back to earth with the turtles safe except for a moderate loss in weight. In 1970, the Soviets again sent tortoises into space setting a record of 90 days, the highest any animal has spent in space.
Encouraged with the success of the first animal astronaut, the French again sent a cat named Felix into space in October 1963. Felix was sent off in a Veronique AGI rocket and even returned safely. Rumors speculate that Felix actually ran off before the launch and a cat named Felicette was sent in his place instead.