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The Most Surprising List of Animals That Have Been Sent to Space

List of Animals That Have Been Sent to Space
Initially, animals were sent to space to investigate whether living systems could survive in microgravity. These days, animals are sent to space to understand, amongst other phenomena, their behavior in an unfamiliar environment.
Amita Ray
Last Updated: May 18, 2018
Natural Space Shield
Tiny microscopic invertebrates named tardigrades, or water bears, were able to survive an open exposure to outer space for 10 days with only their natural protection available!
Man has been sending different animals to space ever since the dawn of space technology. Needless to say that most of these animals were destined for doom―about two-thirds of primates launched into space by the U.S. did not survive! But what prompted man to put these animals through this ordeal in the first place?

These animals were used to test whether living systems could survive spaceflights and a microgravity environment. The first animals to be flown to outer space were fruit flies. These blasted off into space on February 20, 1947, to investigate the effects of radiation exposure at such high altitudes.
These trips have helped scientists to understand motion sick in microgravity, learn about the instinctive behavior of animals in an unfamiliar environment. It also helped us humans to understand the concepts of loss of muscle, bone, and tendon mass in microgravity. Further experiments of animals in space helped us better understand muscle atrophy in people with limited physical activity.

Till date, countries like the former Soviet Union, United States, France, Iran, Argentina, China, and Japan have flown animals into space. Here are some of the animals that were sent to space.
Dog in Space
In the 1950s, the erstwhile USSR sent dogs on many sub-orbital and orbital space flights in order to determine if spaceflights were safe enough for humans. During this period, the Russians commissioned around 57 passenger slots to determine this. The total number of dogs that took flight in these missions were much less as some dogs were flown more than once. Most of the dogs made a safe trip back home. The fate of Laika―a stray dog from Moscow, and the first animal to orbit Earth―was sealed by the scientists as they couldn't come up with a reentry strategy for her shuttle.
Monkey in Space with Rocket
A total of 32 monkeys have been flown into outer space by countries like the U.S., France, USSR, Argentina, and recently by Iran. Initial attempts were made to investigate the biological effects of space travel. The monkeys were anesthetized before the launch. Several species of monkeys like the rhesus monkey, cynomologus monkeys, squirrel monkeys, pig-tailed macaques were used for these experiments. Albert II was the first monkey to survive the flight to outer space, but died on impact due to parachute failure.
Cat in Space Suite
Two cats were sent to outer space on October 18, 1963, and October 24, 1963, by the French Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherches de Médecine Aéronautique (CERMA). One cat Félicette survived the fifteen-minute spaceflight. The other cat unfortunately did not survive the ordeal as the recovery of the capsule took a little longer than usual. Félicette had electrodes implanted into her brain that recorded all the neural impulses of her trip.
Mouse in Space
In the 1950s, the U.S. launched several mice into space. On August 31, 1950, America launched its first mouse into space. The shuttle carrying this mouse traveled 137 km above the surface on the Earth. The mouse did not survive this journey, as the parachute system of the vessel failed. Other countries that have managed to send rodents into space include Russia and China.
On July 28, 1973, two garden spiders, Anita and Arabella were launched into space by Skylab 3. This was done to study the effects of microgravity on their ability to spin webs and hunt. Garden orb spiders were aboard on the last flight of Columbia in 2003 as well, which did not meet a successful end. In May 2011, the space shuttle Endeavour carried two golden orb spiders named Esmeralda and Gladys.
List of Animals Sent to Space
Fruit fly
Rhesus monkeys
Squirrel monkeys
Cynomolgus monkeys
Pig-tailed macaque
Pocket Mice

C57BL/6 Mice
Stray dogs
Tree frogs
Gecko Lizards
Horsfield's tortoise
Gray rabbit
Parasitic wasps
Sand desert beetles
Wine flies
Zebra fish

Caenorhabditis elegans
Stick insect eggs
Chicken embryos
Guinea pigs
Brine Shrimp
Quail eggs
Oyster toad fish
Sea urchins
Japanese killifish
Swordtail fish
Seed Harvester Ants
Madagascar hissing cockroaches

Russian cockroaches
South African flat rock Scorpions
Tardigrades or Water bears
Monarch Butterflies
Painted Lady Butterflies
Golden orb spiders
Garden Spiders