Animals Sent to Space

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.

Fruit Flies

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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.


Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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.


Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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?

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33 Responses to “Animals Sent to Space”
  1. Gerlaine Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 8:16 am

    It is interesting that animal rights activist didn’t stop this long time ago. But this is a cool article. Thanx for the info Valli.

  2. swapna Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 8:23 am

    nine article……

  3. ursula banteux Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 9:02 am

    there are certainly some strange choices there. interesting article.

  4. MAG Villaflor Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 10:00 am

    really interesting topic :)

  5. BC Doan Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Those poor animals! It’s an interesting topic, and bringing awareness!

  6. satya4u Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 10:17 am

    These poor creature sacrificed their lives so that We human can set our foot. Informative indeed.

  7. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Interesting!Take care!

  8. Alexa Gates Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    those poor animals!

  9. Darlene McFarlane Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I am with the majority here. Poor animals indeed. You wouldn’t see anything like that happen today. Animal rights would be all over them!

  10. Lauren Axelrod Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Animals is space. What was the main objection by the space program. Informative piece Valli

  11. Kelpiec Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Animal rights activists in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s? Where are they when it’s about testing neuron-chips and similars?
    The article is great.
    The responses are poor and shocking

  12. Judy Sheldon Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Valli, thank you for researching and sharing this information. I don’t like seeing the animals hurt either.

  13. Lost in Arizona Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    That picture of the monkey was too sad. Informative piece. Well written.

  14. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Maybe it does make it safer for humans going into space but I feel sad for the poor animals. Well written piece.

  15. valli Says...

    On September 30, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Thanks everyone for the nice feed back. I too felt the same for the animals.

  16. nobert soloria bermosa Says...

    On October 1, 2008 at 1:48 am

    that’s cool,i’m just wondering what happened to the fruitflies,where they able to come back alive? anyway, congrats for making it again to the hotlist content,

  17. Melody Arcamo Lagrimas Says...

    On October 1, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Lucky animals…Laika and Ham are great. Thanks for sharing, it’s very interesting.

  18. Anne Lyken-Garner Says...

    On October 1, 2008 at 6:02 am

    This is great. I love it. I hadn’t realised that the monkeys were named Albert.

  19. Liane Schmidt Says...

    On October 1, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I’m wondering why they sent a tortoise up – but… maybe it’s physical makeup is similar to humans? Hmmm…?

    Nice article!



    -Liane Schmidt.

  20. RJ Chamberlain Says...

    On October 1, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Had no idea they sent a Tortoise to space. Find it a little inhuman actually sending any animal to space especially if they know that it will die before or even after returning to earth. Cool article though Valli. Very informative.

  21. valli Says...

    On October 3, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Thank you all for the nice feedback.

  22. eddiego65 Says...

    On October 8, 2008 at 5:55 am

    Excellent article. I hope scientists stop using animals as guinea pigs.

  23. eunice tan Says...

    On October 8, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Very interesting. What next?

  24. Emily James Says...

    On October 14, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    I am concerned that the lifespan of anything returning from space seems to be shortened, could the “The space landing was faked” controversy be true afterall! lol
    Loved it,

    Emily James

  25. Casper Says...

    On October 22, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Man kind, such a proud day…not.

    The more I read about the moon landings the more it confirms to me it didnt happen. For all these poor animals to be sacrificed
    for the greater good (not) it just seems such a waste. Im glad the animals rights people would be all over this. We had the technology in the 60’s but we havent been back….strange.

    Nice but sad article, my heart breaks for those little monkeys.

  26. kaymarie Says...

    On December 11, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    this form of animal testing isnt as cruel as others but it is still bad! BTW-very nice and factical article

  27. georgi Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 9:23 am

    i have magaines about space dog

  28. April Says...

    On March 17, 2009 at 1:25 am

    those poor dogs and monkeys! they’re the ones i care about! THE POOR DOGS AND MONKEYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. cars Says...

    On May 12, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    wow….. dude why didnt they just send some like mice up there and not a whole crud load of other animals

    but interesting info TY XD

  30. Someone Says...

    On June 2, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Woooh idk that

  31. jesmah vergara Says...

    On February 15, 2010 at 7:02 am

    i cant believe that any animal can go to outer space. interesting!!!!


    On February 17, 2010 at 7:26 am

    did you know that albert the sixth is the first monkey who came back to the earth after he survived in space but after 2 hours landing on earth, he died.

  33. mariam Says...

    On May 6, 2012 at 5:28 am

    intrsting! i never new that. we are learining int in class

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