Animals in space
Animals in space originally only served to test the survivability of spaceflight
Spaceflight is the act of travelling into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft which may, or may not, have humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the Russian Soyuz program, the U.S. Space shuttle program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station...

, before manned space missions were attempted. Later, animals were also flown to investigate various biological processes and the effects microgravity and space flight might have on them. Six national space programs have flown animals into space: the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...



The first animals sent into space were fruit flies
Fruit fly
Fruit fly may refer to several organisms:* Tephritidae, a family of large, colorfully marked flies including agricultural pests* Drosophilidae, a family of smaller flies, including:** Drosophila, the genus of small fruit flies and vinegar flies...

, accompanied by rye and cotton seeds aboard a U.S.-launched V2 rocket on February 20, 1947. The purpose of the experiment was to explore the effects of radiation exposure at high altitudes. The rocket reached 68 miles (109 km) in 3 minutes and 10 seconds, past both the U.S. 50-mile and the international 100 km
Karman line
The Kármán line lies at an altitude of above the Earth's sea level, and is commonly used to define the boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and outer space...

 definitions of the edge of space. The Blossom capsule was ejected and successfully deployed its parachute. The fruit flies were recovered alive. Other V2 missions carried biological samples, including moss
Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems...


Albert II, a Rhesus Monkey, became the first monkey in space
Monkeys in space
Before humans went into space, several animals were launched into space, including numerous monkeys, so that scientists could investigate the biological effects of space travel. The United States launched flights containing primate cargo primarily between 1948-1961 with one flight in 1969 and one...

 on June 14, 1949, in a U.S.-launched V2, after the failure of the original Albert's mission on ascent. Albert I reached only 30–39 miles (48–63 km) altitude; Albert II reached about 83 miles (134 km). Albert II died on impact after a parachute failure. Numerous monkeys of several species were flown by the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s. Monkeys were implanted with sensors to measure vital signs, and many were under anesthesia during launch.


On August 31, 1950, the U.S. launched a mouse
A mouse is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse . It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles...

 into space (137 km) aboard a V2 (the Albert V flight, which, unlike the Albert I-IV flights, did not have a monkey), but the rocket disintegrated because the parachute system failed. The U.S. launched several other mice in the 1950s.

On July 22, 1951, the Soviet Union launched the R-1 IIIA-1 flight, carrying the dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

s Tsygan and Dezik into space, but not into orbit. These two dogs were the first living higher organisms successfully recovered from a spaceflight. Both space dogs survived the flight, although one would die on a subsequent flight. The U.S. launched mice aboard spacecraft later that year; however, they failed to reach the altitude for true spaceflight.

On November 3, 1957, the second-ever orbiting spacecraft carried the first animal into orbit, the dog Laika
Laika was a Soviet space dog that became the first animal to orbit the Earth – as well as the first animal to die in orbit.As little was known about the impact of spaceflight on living creatures at the time of Laika's mission, and the technology to de-orbit had not yet been developed, there...

, launched aboard the Soviet Sputnik 2
Sputnik 2
Sputnik 2 , or Prosteyshiy Sputnik 2 ), was the second spacecraft launched into Earth orbit, on November 3, 1957, and the first to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika. Sputnik 2 was a 4-meter high cone-shaped capsule with a base diameter of 2 meters...

 spacecraft (nicknamed 'Muttnik' in the West). Laika died during the flight, as was intended because the technology to return from orbit had not yet been developed. At least 10 other dogs were launched into orbit and numerous others on sub-orbital flights before the historic date of April 12, 1961, when Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

 became the first human in space.

On December 13, 1958, a Jupiter IRBM, AM-13, was launched from Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River.It is part of a region known as the...

, Florida, with a United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

-trained South American squirrel monkey
Squirrel monkey
The squirrel monkeys are the New World monkeys of the genus Saimiri. They are the only genus in the subfamily Saimirinae.Squirrel monkeys live in the tropical forests of Central and South America in the canopy layer. Most species have parapatric or allopatric ranges in the Amazon, while S...

 named Gordo
Gordo (space monkey)
Gordo was one of the first monkeys to travel into space. As part of the NASA space program, Gordo, also known as "Old Reliable", was launched from Cape Canaveral on December 13, 1958 in the U.S. Jupiter AM-13 rocket. The rocket would travel over 1500 miles and reach a height of 310 miles before...

 onboard. The nose cone recovery parachute failed to operate and Gordo was lost. Telemetry
Telemetry is a technology that allows measurements to be made at a distance, usually via radio wave transmission and reception of the information. The word is derived from Greek roots: tele = remote, and metron = measure...

 data sent back during the flight showed that the monkey survived the 10G
Gravitational constant
The gravitational constant, denoted G, is an empirical physical constant involved in the calculation of the gravitational attraction between objects with mass. It appears in Newton's law of universal gravitation and in Einstein's theory of general relativity. It is also known as the universal...

 of launch, 8 minutes of weightlessness and 40G of reentry at 10,000 miles per hour. The nose cone sank 1302 nautical miles (2,411.3 km) downrange from Cape Canaveral and was not recovered.

A monkey is a primate, either an Old World monkey or a New World monkey. There are about 260 known living species of monkey. Many are arboreal, although there are species that live primarily on the ground, such as baboons. Monkeys are generally considered to be intelligent. Unlike apes, monkeys...

s Able and Baker
Miss Baker
Miss Baker was a squirrel monkey who became, along with rhesus monkey Miss Able, one of the first two animals launched into space by the United States and recovered alive....

 became the first monkeys to survive spaceflight after their 1959 flight. On May 28, 1959, aboard Jupiter IRBM AM-18, were a 7-pound (3.18 kg) American-born rhesus monkey, Able, and an 11 ounce (310 g) squirrel monkey
Squirrel monkey
The squirrel monkeys are the New World monkeys of the genus Saimiri. They are the only genus in the subfamily Saimirinae.Squirrel monkeys live in the tropical forests of Central and South America in the canopy layer. Most species have parapatric or allopatric ranges in the Amazon, while S...

 from Peru, Baker. The monkeys rode in the nose cone of the missile to an altitude of 360 miles (579 km) and a distance of 1,700 miles (2,735 km) down the Atlantic Missile Range from Cape Canaveral, Florida. They withstood forces 38 times the normal pull of gravity and were weightless for about 9 minutes. A top speed of 10,000 mph (16,000 km/h) was reached during their 16 minute flight. The monkeys survived the flight in good condition. Able died four days after the flight from a reaction to anesthesia, while undergoing surgery to remove an infected medical electrode. Baker lived until November 29, 1984, at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....



On August 19, 1960, Sputnik 5
Sputnik 5
Korabl-Sputnik 2 , also known as Sputnik 5 in the West, was a Soviet artificial satellite, and the third test flight of the Vostok spacecraft. It was the first spaceflight to send animals into orbit and return them safely back to Earth...

 (also known as Korabl-Sputnik 2) carried the dogs Belka and Strelka. It was the first spacecraft to carry animals into orbit and return them alive. One of Strelka's pups, Pushinka, bred and born after her mission, was given as a present to Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is a member of the influential Kennedy family and the only surviving child of U.S. President John F...

 by Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 in 1961, and many descendants are known to exist.

On January 31, 1961, Ham the Chimp
Ham the Chimp
Ham , also known as Ham the Chimp and Ham the Astrochimp, was the first chimpanzee launched into outer space in the American space program...

 was launched in a Mercury
Mercury program
Mercury Program might refer to:*the first successful American manned spaceflight program, Project Mercury*an American post-rock band, The Mercury Program...

 capsule aboard a Redstone rocket
Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle
The Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle, designed for NASA's Project Mercury, was the first American manned space booster. It was used for six sub-orbital Mercury flights from 1960–61; culminating with the launch of the first, and 11 weeks later, the second American in space.A member of the...

. His mission was Mercury-Redstone 2
Mercury-Redstone 2
Mercury-Redstone 2 was an American space mission, launched at 16:55 UTC on January 31, 1961 from LC-5 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Mercury spacecraft No...

. The chimp had been trained to pull levers to receive rewards of banana pellets and avoid electric shocks. His flight demonstrated the ability to perform tasks during spaceflight. A little over 3 months later the United States sent Alan Shepard
Alan Shepard
Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. was an American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, and NASA astronaut who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, in space. This Mercury flight was designed to enter space, but not to achieve orbit...

 into space. Enos the chimp
Enos (chimpanzee)
Enos was the first chimpanzee that was launched into Earth orbit.Enos was purchased from the Miami Rare Bird Farm on April 3, 1960. He completed more than 1,250 hours of training for his mission at the University of Kentucky and Holloman Air Force Base...

 became the first chimpanzee in orbit on November 29, 1961, in another Mercury capsule, an Atlas rocket, Mercury-Atlas 5.

The Soviet Union in the Vostok 3A flights of March 1961 launched mice and, for the first time, guinea pig
Guinea pig
The guinea pig , also called the cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family, nor are they from Guinea...

s and frog
Frogs are amphibians in the order Anura , formerly referred to as Salientia . Most frogs are characterized by a short body, webbed digits , protruding eyes and the absence of a tail...


France flew the first rat
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

 (Hector) into space on February 22, 1961. Two more rats were flown in October 1962.

France planned to launch Felix the astronaut cat into space on October 18, 1963, but Felix escaped so they chose another cat, Félicette. The cat had electrodes implanted into her head to measure neural impulses. Félicette was recovered alive, but, due to an accident, the next cat in space was not. The final French animal launches were of two monkeys in March 1967.

China launched mice and rats in 1964 and 1965, and two dogs in 1966.

During the Voskhod program, two Russian space dogs, Veterok (Ветерок, Little Wind) and Ugolyok (Уголёк, Ember), were launched on February 22, 1966, on board Cosmos 110
Cosmos 110
Kosmos 110 was a Soviet spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz rocket. It incorporated a re-entry body for landing scientific instruments and test objects...

 and spent 22 days in orbit before landing on March 16. This spaceflight of record-breaking duration was not surpassed by humans until Skylab 2
Skylab 2
-Backup crew:-Support crew:*Robert L. Crippen*Richard H. Truly*Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr*William E. Thornton-Mission parameters:*Mass: 19,979 kg*Maximum Altitude: 440 km*Distance: 18,536,730.9 km...

 in 1974 and still stands as the longest space flight by dogs.

The United States launched Biosatellite I in 1966 and Biosatellite I/II in 1967 with fruit flies, parasitic wasp
Parasitic wasp
The term parasitoid wasp refers to a large evolutionary grade of hymenopteran superfamilies, mainly in the Apocrita. They are primarily parasitoids of other animals, mostly other arthropods...

s, flour beetle
Flour beetle
Flour beetles are members of the darkling beetle genus Tribolium or Tenebrio. They are pests of cereal silos and are widely used as laboratory animals, as they are easy to keep. The flour beetles enjoy wheat and other grains and are adapted to survive in very dry environments and can withstand high...

s and frog eggs, along with bacteria, amoebae, plants and fungi.

On April 11, 1967, Argentina also launched the rat Belisario, atop an Orion II rocket, from Cordoba military range, which was recovered successfully. This flight was followed by a series of subsequent flights using rats. It is unclear if any Argentinean biological flights passed the 100 km limit of space.

The first tortoise
Tortoises are a family of land-dwelling reptiles of the order of turtles . Like their marine cousins, the sea turtles, tortoises are shielded from predators by a shell. The top part of the shell is the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. The tortoise...

 in space was launched September 14, 1968 by the Soviet Union. The Horsfield's tortoise was sent on a circumlunar voyage along with wine flies, meal worms and other biological specimens. These were the first animals in deep space. The capsule was recovered at sea on September 21.

The United States launched the monkey Bonny, a macaque, in 1969 on the first multi-day primate mission; it was one of four U.S. monkey missions in the 1960s.

In total in the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union launched missions with passenger slots for at least 57 dogs. The actual number of dogs in space is smaller, because some dogs flew more than once.

On December 23, 1969, as part of the 'Operación Navidad' (Operation Christmas), Argentina launched Juan (a cai monkey, native of Argentina's Misiones Province) using a two-stage Rigel 04 rocket. It ascended only up to 60 kilometers and then was recovered successfully. Later, on the February 1, 1970 the experience was repeated with a female monkey of the same species using a X-1 Panther rocket. Although it reached a higher altitude than its predecessor, it was lost after the capsule's parachute failed.


Two bullfrog
The American bullfrog , often simply known as the bullfrog in Canada and the United States, is an aquatic frog, a member of the family Ranidae, or “true frogs”, native to much of North America. This is a frog of larger, permanent water bodies, swamps, ponds, and lakes, where it is usually found...

s were launched on a one-way mission on the Orbiting Frog Otolith satellite on November 9, 1970, to better understand space motion sickness.

Apollo 16
Apollo 16
Young and Duke served as the backup crew for Apollo 13; Mattingly was slated to be the Apollo 13 command module pilot until being pulled from the mission due to his exposure to rubella through Duke.-Backup crew:...

 on April 16, 1972 carried nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

s, and Apollo 17
Apollo 17
Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. Launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on December 7, 1972, with a three-member crew consisting of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 remains the...

, launched on December 7, 1972 carried five pocket mice
Little Pocket Mouse
The Little Pocket Mouse is a species of rodent in the Heteromyidae family. It is found in Baja California and Sonora in Mexico and in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah in the United States...

, although one died on the circumlunar trip. Skylab 3
Skylab 3
Skylab 3 was the second manned mission to Skylab. The Skylab 3 mission started July 28, 1973, with the launch of three astronauts on the Saturn IB rocket, and lasted 59 days, 11 hours and 9 minutes...

 carried pocket mice and the first fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 in space (a mummichog
The mummichog is a killifish also known as mummies, gudgeons, and mud minnows are found in brackish and coastal waters along the eastern seaboard of the United States as well as Atlantic Canada. It is noted for its hardiness and for being a popular research subject in embryological, physiological,...

), and the first spider
Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms...

s in space (Garden Spiders named Arabella and Anita). Mummichog were also flown by the U.S. on the Apollo-Soyuz joint mission, launched July 15, 1975.

The Soviets flew several Bion program missions which consisted of satellites with biological cargoes. On these launches they flew tortoises, rats, and mummichog. On Soyuz 20
Soyuz 20
Soyuz 20 was an unmanned spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union. It was a long-duration test of the Soyuz spacecraft that docked with the Salyut 4 space station. Soyuz 20 performed comprehensive checking of improved on-board systems of the spacecraft under various flight conditions. It also...

, launched November 17, 1975, tortoises set the duration record for an animal in space when they spent 90.5 days in space. Salyut 5
Salyut 5
Salyut 5 , also known as OPS-3, was a Soviet space station. Launched in 1976 as part of the Salyut programme, it was the third and last Almaz space station to be launched for the Soviet military. Two Soyuz missions visited the station, each manned by two cosmonauts...

 on June 22, 1976, carried tortoises and a fish (a zebra danio).


The Soviet Union sent eight monkeys into space in the 1980s on Bion flights. In 1985, the U.S. sent two squirrel monkeys aboard Spacelab 3 on the space shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 with 24 male albino rats and stick insect eggs. Bion flights also flew zebra danio, fruit flies, rats, stick insect eggs and the first newt
Iberian Ribbed Newt
The Iberian ribbed newt or Spanish ribbed newt is a newt endemic to the central and southern Iberian Peninsula and Morocco. It is known for its sharp ribs which can puncture through its sides, and as such is also called the sharp-ribbed newt.-Physical description:The Iberian Ribbed Newt has...

s in space.

Bion 7
Bion 7
Bion 7 was a biomedical research mission satellite involving scientists from nine countries. It was part of the Bion program.It carried two Rhesus monkeys named Gordyy and Oomka, ten male rats, and ten newts. The monkey research focused on vestibular and blood flow investigations as well as...

 (1985) had 10 newts (Pleurodeles waltl) onboard. The newts had part of their front limbs amputated to study the rate of regeneration
Regeneration (biology)
In biology, regeneration is the process of renewal, restoration, and growth that makes genomes, cells, organs, organisms, and ecosystems resilient to natural fluctuations or events that cause disturbance or damage. Every species is capable of regeneration, from bacteria to humans. At its most...

 in space, knowledge to understand human recovery from space injuries.

After an experiment was lost in the Challenger disaster, chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 embryos (fertilized eggs) were sent into space in an experiment on STS-29
-Mission parameters:*Mass:**Orbiter liftoff: **Orbiter landing: **Payload: *Perigee: *Apogee: *Inclination: 28.5°*Period: 90.6 min-Mission summary:Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Pad B, Launch...

 in 1989. The experiment was designed for a student contest.


Four monkeys flew aboard the last Bion flights of the Soviet Union as well as frogs and fruit flies. The Foton program flights carried dormant brine shrimp
Brine shrimp
Artemia is a genus of aquatic crustaceans known as brine shrimp. Artemia, the only genus in the family Artemiidae, has changed little externally since the Triassic period...

 (Artemia franciscana), newts, fruit flies, and sand desert beetles (Trigonoscelis gigas).
China launched guinea pigs in 1990.

Toyohiro Akiyama
Toyohiro Akiyama
is a Japanese TV journalist best known for his flight to the Mir space station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 1990. Akiyama is the first person of Japanese descent to have flown in space. He was known as the "Space Journalist" in Japan....

, a Japanese journalist carried Japanese tree frog
Japanese Tree Frog
The Japanese tree frog is a species of tree frog belonging to the genus Hyla. The species is distributed from Hokkaidō to Yakushima in Japan and from Korea along the Ussuri River to northeastern China....

s with him during his trip to the Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

 space station in December 1990. Other biological experiments aboard Mir involved quail
Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally considered in the order Galliformes. Old World quail are found in the family Phasianidae, while New World quail are found in the family Odontophoridae...


Japan launched its first animals, a species of newt, into space on March 18, 1995 aboard the Space Flyer Unit
Space Flyer Unit
The was a spacecraft which was launched by Japan on Mar. 18, 1995.- Technical data :The Space Flyer Unit was launched from Tanegashima Space Center from a H-2 vehicle. It was carrying testing materials and research data that held value to NASA. They retrieved the data from the Space Flyer Unit by...


During the 1990s the U.S. carried cricket
Cricket (insect)
Crickets, family Gryllidae , are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets . They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. There are about 900 species of crickets...

s, mice, rats, frogs, newts, fruit flies, snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

s, carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

, medaka, oyster toadfish
Oyster toadfish
The oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau, also known as the ugly toad, oyster cracker and "bar dog", is a fish of the family Batrachoididae. The maximum length of the toadfish is about 38 cm; the most common recorded length of an oyster toadfish is about 30 cm...

, sea urchin
Sea urchin
Sea urchins or urchins are small, spiny, globular animals which, with their close kin, such as sand dollars, constitute the class Echinoidea of the echinoderm phylum. They inhabit all oceans. Their shell, or "test", is round and spiny, typically from across. Common colors include black and dull...

s, swordtail fish, gypsy moth
Gypsy moth
The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a moth in the family Lymantriidae of Eurasian origin. Originally ranging from Europe to Asia, it was introduced to North America in the late 1860s and has been expanding its range ever since...

 eggs, stick insect eggs, brine shrimp
Brine shrimp
Artemia is a genus of aquatic crustaceans known as brine shrimp. Artemia, the only genus in the family Artemiidae, has changed little externally since the Triassic period...

 (Artemia salina
Artemia salina
Artemia salina is a species of brine shrimp – aquatic crustaceans that are more closely related to Triops and cladocerans than to true shrimp. It is a very old species that does not appear to have changed in .-Description:...

), and quail eggs aboard Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...



The last flight of Columbia in 2003 carried silkworms, Garden Orb spider
Eriophora is a genus of orb-weaver spiders that occur in the Americas, Australasia and Africa. Eriophora transmarina is commonly known as the "Australian garden orb weaver spider"....

s, carpenter bee
Carpenter bee
Carpenter bees are large, hairy bees distributed worldwide. There are some 500 species of carpenter bee in 31 subgenera...

s, harvester ant
Harvester ant
Ants known as Harvester ants include:species*Red harvester ant *Florida harvester ant *Maricopa harvester ant , the most venomous insect in the world....

s, and Japanese killifish
A killifish is any of various oviparous cyprinodontiform fish . Altogether, there are some 1270 different species of killifish, the biggest family being Rivulidae, containing more than 320 species...

. Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

s (C. elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living, transparent nematode , about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments. Research into the molecular and developmental biology of C. elegans was begun in 1974 by Sydney Brenner and it has since been used extensively as a model...

) from one experiment were found still alive in the debris after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members...


C. elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living, transparent nematode , about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments. Research into the molecular and developmental biology of C. elegans was begun in 1974 by Sydney Brenner and it has since been used extensively as a model...

are also part of experiments aboard the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

 as well as research using quail eggs.

Earlier shuttle missions included grade school, junior high and high school projects; some of these included ant
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than...

s, stick insect eggs and brine shrimp cysts. Other science missions included gypsy moth eggs.

On July 12, 2006, Bigelow Aerospace
Bigelow Aerospace
Bigelow Aerospace is a North Las Vegas, Nevada space technology startup company that is pioneering work on expandable space station modules. Bigelow Aerospace was founded by Robert Bigelow in 1998...

 launched their Genesis I inflatable space module, containing many small items such as toys and simple experiments chosen by company employees that would be observed via camera. These items included insects, perhaps making it the first private flight to launch animals into space. Included were Madagascar hissing cockroach
Madagascar hissing cockroach
The Madagascar hissing Cockroach , also known as the Hissing Cockroach or simply Hisser, is one of the largest species of cockroach, reaching 2–4 inches at maturity. They are from the island of Madagascar off the African coast, where they can be found in rotting logs.Unlike most cockroaches, they...

es and Mexican jumping beans — seeds containing live larvae of the moth Cydia deshaisiana
Cydia deshaisiana
Cydia deshaisiana or jumping bean moth is a moth from Mexico that is most widely known as its larva, where it inhabits the carpels of seeds from several species of the shrub genus Sebastiania . These seeds are commonly known as Mexican jumping beans.The moth lays the egg on the young pod...

. On June 28, 2007, Bigelow launched Genesis II
Genesis II
Genesis II is a 1973 American TV film created and produced by Gene Roddenberry and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey.It opens with the line, "My name is Dylan Hunt...

, a near-twin to Genesis I. This spacecraft also carried the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and added South African flat rock scorpions (Hadogenes troglodytes) and seed-harvester ants
Red harvester ant
The red harvester ant is a large ant common in the southwest United States.- Description :The main food source for red harvester ants usually consists of seeds, which they hoard in great numbers, hence their name.As with most ant species, their mating castes consist of winged alates that reside...

 (Pogonomyrmex californicus).

In September, 2007, during the European Space Agency's FOTON-M3 mission, tardigrade
Tardigrades form the phylum Tardigrada, part of the superphylum Ecdysozoa. They are microscopic, water-dwelling, segmented animals with eight legs. Tardigrades were first described by Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773...

s, also known as water-bears, were able to survive 10 days of exposure to open-space with only their natural protection.

In November 2009, STS-129
-Crew seat assignments:-Mission payload:-ExPRESS Logistics Carriers 1 and 2:The primary payload of STS-129 was the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier and the ELC-2. The mass capacity of each ELC is with a volume of 30 meters cubed...

 took painted lady
Painted Lady
The Cynthia group of colourful butterflies, commonly called painted ladies, comprises a subgenus of the genus Vanessa in the Family Nymphalidae...

 and monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly
The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly , in the family Nymphalidae. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Since the 19th century, it has been found in New Zealand, and in Australia since 1871 where it is called the Wanderer...

 larva into space for a school experiment as well as thousands of C. elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living, transparent nematode , about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments. Research into the molecular and developmental biology of C. elegans was begun in 1974 by Sydney Brenner and it has since been used extensively as a model...

 roundworms for long-term weight loss studies.


On February 3, 2010, on the 31st anniversary of its revolution, Iran became the latest country to launch animals into space. The animals (a mouse, two turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s and some worms) were launched on top of the Kavoshgar 3 rocket and returned alive to Earth.

In May 2011, the last flight of Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States. Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger...

STS-134 was the penultimate mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The mission marked the 25th and final flight of . This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander...

) carried two golden orb spiders, named Gladys and Esmerelda, as well as a fruit fly colony as their food source in order to study the effects of microgravity on spiders' behavior.

In November 2011, the Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment
Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment
The Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment is an interplanetary mission developed by the Planetary Society. It consists of sending selected microorganisms on a three-year interplanetary round-trip in a small capsule aboard the Russian Fobos-Grunt spacecraft in 2011, which is a sample-return...

 on the Phobos-Grunt
Fobos-Grunt or Phobos-Grunt was an attempted Russian sample return mission to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars. It was launched on 9 November 2011 at 02:16 local time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but subsequent rocket burns intended to set the craft on a course for Mars failed, leaving it...

 mission planned to carry tardigrades to Mars and back; however, the mission failed to leave Earth orbit.

See also

  • Bioastronautics
    Bioastronautics is a specialty area of bioengineering research which encompasses numerous aspects of biological, behavioral, and medical concern governing humans and other living organisms in a space flight environment; and includes design of payloads, space habitats, and life support systems...

  • Model organism
    Model organism
    A model organism is a non-human species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena, with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms. Model organisms are in vivo models and are widely used to...

  • Soviet space dogs
  • Monkeys in space
    Monkeys in space
    Before humans went into space, several animals were launched into space, including numerous monkeys, so that scientists could investigate the biological effects of space travel. The United States launched flights containing primate cargo primarily between 1948-1961 with one flight in 1969 and one...

  • Dogs in space
    Dogs in Space
    Dogs in Space is a 1986 Australian film set in the "little band scene" in Melbourne in 1978. It was directed by Richard Lowenstein and starred Michael Hutchence as Sam, the drug-addled frontman of the fictitious band from which the film takes its name....

  • Organisms at high altitude
    Organisms at high altitude
    Organisms can exist at high altitude in a habitat, while flying or gliding, or through man-made systems. Many animals have adapted to high altitude life and some have evolved to cope well with the problems of an environment with a reduced level of oxygen....

  • Timeline of Solar System exploration
    Timeline of solar system exploration
    This is a timeline of Solar System exploration ordered by date of spacecraft launch. It includes:*All spacecraft that have left Earth orbit for the purposes of Solar System exploration , including lunar probes....

Further reading

  • L. W. Fraser and E. H. Siegler, High Altitude Research Using the V-2 Rocket, March 1946-April 1947 (Johns Hopkins University, Bumblebee Series Report No. 8, July 1948), p. 90.
  • Kenneth W. Gatland, Development of the Guided Missile (London and New York, 1952), p. 188
  • Capt. David G. Simons, Use of V-2 Rocket to Convey Primate to Upper Atmosphere (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, AF Technical Report 5821, May 1949), p. 1.
  • Lloyd Mallan, Men, Rockets, and Space Rats (New York, 1955), pp. 84–93.

External links

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