MEET THE ANIMANAUTS
Many animals were sent to space to see how it would affect living beings. Here are a few we won’t forget . . . The US sent 32 monkeys into space. Albert II was the first in 1949, but his craft crashed due to parachute failure. The first monkeys to return alive were Miss Able and Miss Baker, who went up together. Baker lived to a ripe old age, but Able died four days after landing during an operation to remove an electrode. Another famous monkeynaut was the chimpanzee Ham, who in 1961 went up in a Mercury capsule and returned safely.
The Soviets sent up 12 dogs. The most famous and tragic one was Laika, a little stray who in 1957 was the first living being in orbit but died from heat exhaustion. Belka and Strelka were the first dogs to return alive, while Veterok and Ugolyok orbited 22 days before landing safely. In 1963 the French launched a cat into space. Félicette made a safe landing when her capsule parachuted to Earth.