Neil Armstrong was the first person to set his foot on the Moon and Yuri Gagarin was the first person to enter space. But before the man stepped into the space, many animals sacrificed their lives by entering space. They were sent into space to study the environment and physical conditions etc. Let us find out about some of them.
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The credit being the first animals sent into space goes to fruit flies. They were sent into space in 1947 in V2 rocket launched by US at the height of 170 kilometers above the earth to explore the effects of radiation exposure at high altitudes.
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Monkeys were sent into space after implanting sensors to measure vital signs. Many of them were under anesthesia during launch. The first monkey that was sent into space is Albert I in 1948. But it died due to lack of breathing. Since then every monkey that was sent to space was named after Albert. The second monkey Albert II had successfully gone up to 134 km. height, but died in the return journey. 32 monkeys were sent into space from 1948 to 1961 and in 1969 and 1985 by America, two times in 1967 by France, from 1983 to 1996 by Russia. The first monkey which returned alive from the space is Albert VI. It went to space in 1951 along with mice. It died after two hours of its arrival from the space. The female monkey Baker which went into the space in 1959 along with another monkey lived 25 years after its return from the space.
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Russians sent 57 dogs into the space during 1950 to 1960. The first animal in orbit was the dog Laika, launched aboard the Soviet Sputnik 2 space craft in 1957. Laika died during the flight and at least 10 other dogs were launched, which died, before Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. Two Russian space dogs Veterok and Ugolyok were launched aboard Cosmos 110 in 1966 and they spent 22 days in orbit.
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The record of spending longest duration in space goes to tortoises. They spent 90 days in Space when they were sent in 1975.
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American Chimp Ham was sent in 1961 in a Mercury capsule aboard a Redstone Rocket. It was trained to pull levers to receive rewards of banana pellets and avoid electric shocks. Its actions were observed on the computer monitor. Later another Chimp Enos was sent to the orbit in the same year in another Mercury capsule, an Atlas Rocket. It was the first non-human primate in orbit.
Many other animals like amoeba, flies, cats, pigs, rabbits, rats, spiders, fishes, frogs, silkworms, ants, cockroaches, locusts were sent to space too.
Hard training: Before sending the animals into space they are given a hard training. Dogs are made to stand on two legs in a narrow box and tested how many days they can bear this position. They are kept in a revolving pressurized space cabins and observed how much pressure they can bear. Chimpanzees are given electric shocks in small doses to train them to operate levers. If they are successful they are rewarded with bananas. While travelling they have to bear the pressure 38 times more than the pressure on the earth.
Due to the sacrifices of these animals entering the space became easier than otherwise. Isn’t it?