What was the first animal in space? (2023)

Animals have been used in space programs since the beginning of space exploration. Find out which pioneering animals traveled in space and which were the first to orbit the earth.

What was the first animal in space?

While many flights into space may have inadvertently brought bacteria and other life forms aboard, the first creatures sent into space on purpose were fruit flies. These were transported on February 20, 1947 aboard a V2 rocket.

The fruit flies were launched as part of a research mission from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The unnamed rocket flew 67 miles in the air before parachuting back to Earth. NASA currently recognizes the altitude of 66 miles (100 km) as the point at which space officially begins. Therefore, the fruit flies are considered to be the first animals to ever reach the final frontier.

The V2 rockets were the world's first long-range guided missiles and were used by Germany in World War II. The missiles could fly at a top speed of 3,500 miles per hour and hit targets over 200 miles away. After the war, the US confiscated many of these rockets and used them for research to lay the groundwork for future space launches. Wernher von Braun, who designed the V2, was even involved in designing the Saturn V rocket for NASA.

(Video) 10 Animals That Went to Space

The flies were the perfect passengers for flight, as their compact size and relatively light weight made them easy to store and reduced fuel consumption.

Little was known at the time about the effects of cosmic rays on organic matter. Since fruit flies have a similar genetic make-up to humans, they were considered suitable experimental and research objects. Upon safely recovering the fly pod, scientists found that the flies' genetics had not been altered by the radiation, paving the way for future human spaceflight.

What was the first animal to orbit the earth?

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Soviet Union and US space programs sent numerous animal species into space, including monkeys, mice, and dogs. However, these were suborbital flights, meaning the spacecraft flew into space before falling back to Earth with no orbit.

The first animal to make an orbital space flight around the Earth was the dog Laika aboard the Soviet spacecraftSputnik 2am 3. November 1957.

At a time

Laika was a young part-Samoyed terrier found as a stray in Moscow. She was chosen because Soviet scientists believed that a homeless animal would be better equipped to endure the cold, hunger, and harsh conditions of space travel. However, due to insufficient oxygen and food supplies, Laika's death in space was anticipated from the start of the mission.

During their pre-launch training, the canine candidates underwent a series of demanding endurance tests and medical examinations. Among other things, the scientists investigated how the animals would cope in the agonizingly cramped space capsule. Laika and two other dogs (Albina and Mushka) were placed in progressively smaller cages over several weeks. With her calm temper and grace under pressure, Laika was chosen. Vladimir Yazdovsky, the head of the Soviet space mission, described Laika as "quiet and charming".

laika's spaceship,Sputnik 2has been equipped with a variety of innovative devices to keep it alive. There was an oxygen generator to absorb carbon dioxide, a heat-activated fan to regulate temperature, and the pod was filled with enough food to keep the dog alive for seven days.

(Video) 3rd November 1957: Laika the dog becomes the first animal to enter orbit around the Earth

There are conflicting accounts of Laika's death in space. The Soviet Union initially claimed that she died when oxygen levels were depleted, or that she was deliberately "euthanized" with poisoned food. In 1999, several Russian sources (such as the scientists involved in the space program) stated that Laika died after a failure in fourth Earth orbitSputnik 2Temperature controller from . On April 14, 1958 (after about 2,570 revolutions)Sputnik 2and Laika's remnants left orbit and dissipated upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Finally, in 2008, nearly 50 years after the historic flight, a memorial was erected to Laika outside of Star City, a military facility in Russia where she was trained for her journey. The statue resembles a rocket that transitions into a hand and launches Laika into space.

Animals that flew into space

In addition to the fruit flies and laika, a variety of animals have been sent into space since the 1940s, including ants, cats, frogs, and even jellyfish.

To date, a total of 32 monkeys have flown into space. These species include rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and pigtail monkeys. Chimpanzees have also flown.

On June 4, 1949, Albert II became the first monkey in space, but he died on re-entry when the parachute to his capsule failed. Two other monkeys, Albert III and IV, also died when their rockets failed.

(Video) QI | What Was The First Animal In Space?

A mouse was launched into space on August 15, 1950, but did not survive the return journey.

In the 1950s, the US and Soviet Union launched a total of 12 dogs on various suborbital flights, Laika being the first.

On January 31, 1961, the first hominid was launched into space. A chimp named Ham was part of the US-led Mercury space program. A major part of the mission was to test whether tasks could be performed in space, the results of which were instrumental in launching the first American in space, Alan Shepard, on May 5, 1961.

On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (March 9, 1934 – March 27, 1968) became the first human to fly into space. He flew on board theWostok 1and completed a circumnavigation that took 108 minutes from launch to safe parachute jump to Earth.

On October 18, 1963, the French sent their first animal, a cat, into space. Félicette, a Felix cat, had electrodes implanted in her head to transmit her condition while she spent 5 minutes in zero gravity. She reached an altitude of 100 miles and landed safely, but was killed two months later so scientists could examine her brain.

First animals to orbit the moon

The first animals to orbit the moon and return to Earth were two Russian tortoises on boardSo 5. On September 15, 1968, the turtles were shot around the moon with plants, seeds and bacteria and returned to Earth seven days later. The capsule and its occupants survived reentry.

What was the first animal in space? (2)
(Video) What Happened to Ham in Space? *Sad Story of Ham*

First Animals in Space Facts

  • The first dogs to return alive from space were Belka and Strelka ("squirrel" and "little arrow"), launched on August 19, 1960 by the Soviet space program. Strelka gave birth to six puppies, one of which was gifted to US President John F. Kennedy by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
  • The first fish in space were South American guppies. They spent 48 days in orbit with the RussianSalute 5spaceship in 1976.
  • In 1973, a garden spider named Arabella was the first to spin a web in space, providing an answer to the question of whether webs can be spun in zero gravity.
  • An American monkey named Albert II flew into space on a V2 in 1949 and on a mouse in 1950. Guinea pigs, frogs, cats, wasps, beetles and a chimpanzee followed in the 1960s.
  • In 2007, Russian scientists celebrated after a cockroach named Hope became the first creature in space to conceive - giving birth to 33 cockroaches aboard a Foton-M satellite.
What was the first animal in space? (3)

How many animals died in space?

Because so many space missions have involved biological life, it's difficult to know exactly how many animals died in space. In the early days of space exploration, the processes involved in the design and production of spacecraft were trial and error. As a result, the animals had little chance of survival. Today, animals are still being sent into space, but the probability of survival is much greater.

How does space affect animals?

Much like it affects humans, space can affect animals in many different ways. Early space travel was used to study how radiation would affect organic matter outside of Earth's protective magnetic field and atmosphere. Today, many space exploration missions revolve around studying how animals react and learn behaviors in microgravity.

An example of one such experiment was with caterpillar moths aboard the Space ShuttleColumbiain 1982. Born on Earth and sent into space, the moths could not control their flight in microgravity conditions, so they clung to interior surfaces. However, the space-born moths could hover and fly, and sometimes even “land” under control.

Why do we send animals into space?

The first animal journeys into space were used to test survivability and the potential to send humans into space. Later, other scientific questions such as radiation and weightlessness were investigated.

(Video) First Animal in Space - Decades TV Network

For example, worms share similar changes in the expression of genes that regulate blood sugar with humans, but because the former are more compact and reproduce very quickly, scientists can study many of them across the lifespan, unlike humans.


What was first animal in space? ›

The first animal to make an orbital spaceflight around the Earth was the dog Laika, aboard the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 on 3 November 1957.

What were the first 3 animals in space? ›

The Soviet Sputnik 5 (Aug. 19, 1960) was the first to return animals alive from orbit. The passengers were the dogs Belka and Strelka, plus a gray rabbit, 42 mice, two rats and fruit flies.

What were the first 2 animals in space? ›

The first animals to reach space were fruit flies that the United States launched aboard captured German rockets in 1947. The first mammal to reach space was a rhesus monkey named Albert II, who flew two years later. Both these missions were suborbital, as were all animal flights for about a decade.

Did the first animal in space survive? ›

Alas, poor Yorick died after his capsule overheated in the New Mexico sun while awaiting recovery, though nine of the mice survived. Six years later the Soviet Sputnik II probe carried the first animal into orbit, a former stray dog named Kudryavka (“curly”) but later known to the world as Laika (“barker”).

Has an animal been born in space? ›

Like the space born jellyfish, humans raised in zero gravity may have trouble moving around normally if they returned to Earth. A surprising number of animals have been bred in space, including frogs, salamanders, and sea urchins.

Who was the 1st monkey in space? ›

Sixty years ago, on November 29, 1961, Enos became the first chimpanzee to orbit the Earth. He flew on NASA's Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) mission, which the relatively new space agency deemed necessary before orbiting an astronaut in a Mercury capsule. But Enos is little remembered today.

Did the first monkey in space survive? ›

On June 14, 1949, Albert II survived a sub-orbital V-2 flight into space (but died on impact after a parachute failure) to become the first monkey, first primate, and first mammal in space. His flight reached 134 km (83 mi) – past the Kármán line of 100 km which designates the beginning of space.

What was the first human object in space? ›

In 1949, the "Bumper-WAC" became the first human-made object to enter space as it climbed to an altitude of 393 kilometers (244 miles). The rocket consisted of a JPL WAC Corporal missile sitting atop a German-made V-2 rocket.

Is Laika the dog still in space? ›

Laika, a Moscow street dog, became the first creature to orbit Earth, but she died in space.

What was the second animal to exist? ›

Sea sponges have been around a long time, but they are at least old enough to be the longest-existing creatures on Earth. The second animal on earth would be the jellyfish, it existed even 505 million years ago. New fossil evidence of jellyfish goes back over half a billion years.

Which animal was created first? ›

The First Animals

Sponges were among the earliest animals. While chemical compounds from sponges are preserved in rocks as old as 700 million years, molecular evidence points to sponges developing even earlier.

Who was the first death in space? ›

On March 27, 1968, Yuri Gagarin, the first man to go into space, died together with pilot Vladimir Seryogin during a routine training flight, after the MiG-15 jet fighter they were flying crashed near Novosyolovo in the Soviet Union.

What was the first animal to return from space alive? ›

Answer: Two dogs, Belka and Strelka, were launched into space on August 19, 1960 aboard the Soviet's Sputnik 5 spacecraft. They returned to Earth one day later, becoming the first living creatures to be launched into space and returned safely to the ground.

What was NASA first animal in space? ›

Hurriedly prepared to take advantage of the propaganda value of the first satellite, Sputnik 2 utilized an animal habitat and carried the dog Laika, the first animal to orbit the Earth.

Can you get pregnant in space? ›

Although, according to Jennifer Fogarty, an expert in space medicine, from an anatomical and biological point of view, human conception in space is absolutely possible. But there are serious risks that microgravity and radiation can severely damage and even kill the fetus.

Who was the first animal to land on moon? ›

Before any people arrived at the moon, other animals got there first. And unlike the dogs and monkeys that were made famous in early space shots and Earth orbits, the first vertebrates to reach the moon were a pair of steppe tortoises, Discovery's Amy Shira Teitel reminds us.

Was a dog sent to space? ›

The Soviet Union launches the first animal to orbit the earth into space—a dog nicknamed Laika—aboard the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. Laika, part Siberian husky, lived as a stray on the Moscow streets before being enlisted into the Soviet space program.

How old was the space dog? ›

She was a 5 kg (11 lb) mongrel female, approximately three years old. Another account reported that she weighed about 6 kg (13 lb).

How many dogs have been in space? ›

And what of "Man's Best Friend", the brave canines that helped pave the way for "manned" spaceflight? During the 1950s and 60s, the Soviets sent over 20 dogs into space, some of which never returned. Here's what we know about these intrepid canines who helped make humanity a space-faring race!

What animals have gone to space? ›

A wide variety of animals have been launched into space, including monkeys and apes, dogs, cats, tortoises, mice, rats, rabbits, fish, frogs, spiders, quail eggs (which hatched in 1990 on Mir), and insects.

Who was the first rabbit in space? ›

Marfusha (Little Martha) was the first rabbit astronaut launched into space. Along with her sidekicks, the dogs Otvazhnaya (Brave) and Snezhinka (Snowflake), the trio returned from their Soviet-backed suborbital flight in good health in 1959.

Who won the space race? ›

Most historians agree that the space race ended on 20 July 1969 when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon for the first time. As the climax of space history and exploration, the lunar landing led to a triumph for the US.

Who was the first person on Earth? ›

Adam is the name given in Genesis 1-5 to the first human. Beyond its use as the name of the first man, adam is also used in the Bible as a pronoun, individually as "a human" and in a collective sense as "mankind".

What is the oldest thing in space? ›

Astronomers have discovered what may be the oldest and most distant galaxy ever observed. The galaxy, called HD1, dates from a bit more than 300 million years after the Big Bang that marked the origin of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago, researchers said on Thursday.

What is the oldest thing ever found in space? ›

GRB 090423 was also the oldest known object in the Universe, apart from the Methuselah star. As the light from the burst took approximately 13 billion years to reach Earth.

Did they poison Laika? ›

Officially, Laika was poisoned through her food after about a week to prevent a painful death when reentering the Earth's atmosphere. The satellite that carried her burned on April 14, 1958.

Did Laika dog suffer? ›

During the launch, her pulse shot up to three times its normal rate and she was so terrified that it remained elevated for an extended time. Temperatures inside the tiny spacecraft quickly soared, and within hours, she cooked to death—all alone and in severe pain. What Laika was subjected to was cruel and inexcusable.

Was Laika the dog scared? ›

With a pounding heart and rapid breath, Laika rode a rocket into Earth orbit, 2,000 miles above Moscow streets she knew. Overheated, cramped, frightened, and probably hungry, the space dog gave her life for her country, involuntarily fulfilling a canine suicide mission.

Was there 2 species of humans? ›

Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago. Now there is just one. The Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, were stocky hunters adapted to Europe's cold steppes. The related Denisovans inhabited Asia, while the more primitive Homo erectus lived in Indonesia, and Homo rhodesiensis in central Africa.

What's the oldest animal alive? ›

The oldest known living terrestrial animal is Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa), originally from the Seychelles but now a long-time resident of the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena. He is believed to have been born c. 1832, thus making him 190 years old in 2022.

Which animal doesn't exist now? ›

Among these extinct animals are the West African black rhinoceros, the baiji white dolphin, the Tasmanian tiger, the dodo, and Stellers sea cow. There are six main reasons why species now become extinct: Habitat loss.

When was the first pet born? ›

There is archaeological evidence dogs were the first animals domesticated by humans more than 30,000 years ago (more than 10,000 years before the domestication of horses and ruminants).

What did God make on Day 6? ›

Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)

25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Who came first dogs or humans? ›

A study of dog DNA has shown that our "best friend" in the animal world may also be our oldest one. The analysis reveals that dog domestication can be traced back 11,000 years, to the end of the last Ice Age. This confirms that dogs were domesticated before any other known species.

Who fell from space to Earth? ›

Felix Baumgartner: 10 years on, the man who fell to Earth is still awed by experience. After six years of preparation, struggle and sacrifice, Felix Baumgartner found himself quite literally on the edge of the world. “I'm standing there on top of the world outside of a capsule in space and in the stratosphere.

How fast is death in space? ›

After about one minute circulation effectively stops. The lack of oxygen to the brain renders you unconscious in less than 15 seconds, eventually killing you.

What was the last death in space? ›

The Challenger disaster remains perhaps the most notorious in the history of spaceflight, owing to the number of people, many of them schoolchildren, who saw it live on TV. In 2003 a further seven astronauts died when the shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

What was the first thing eaten in space? ›

When the Soviet Union's Yuri Gagarin (pictured, right) became the first human in space, he took along and ate the first meal in space: two servings of pureed meat and one of chocolate sauce – all in the yummy form of paste he squeezed from tubes, just like toothpaste!

What was the first candy in space? ›

So on request from the crew aboard NASA's first space shuttle, Columbia, M&M's became the first candy to rocket into space in 1981.

Has ramen been eaten in space? ›

Liftoff for ramen

In 2005, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi became the first astronaut to dine on instant noodles in space. Four years later, Noguchi took them with him to the International Space Station. To accommodate the conditions in space, the ramen doesn't require boiling water, Sora News 24 says.

What was the first vegetable in space? ›

In a partnership between NASA and the University of Wisconsin, seed potatoes were first tested in space in 1995 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.


(Bonus Round)
2. First Animal to Survive in Space
3. A Brief History of Animal Space Travel
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5. The Only Animal that can Survive in Space
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6. 3rd November 1957: Laika the dog becomes first animal in orbit
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