Astronomy and Space Travel Animals in Space Part 2

About the use of animals in space travel testing, names, species, crafts, the nations that sent them and the effects.


Date: May 28, 1959

Name: Able and Baker

Species: Female rhesus monkey (6 lb.) and female squirrel monkey (11 oz.)

Spacecraft: Jupiter rocket

Nation: U.S.

One immobilized and one mobile, the two monkeys rocketed at 10,000 mph to an altitude of 300 mi. and were recovered 1 1/2 hours later, 1,700 mi. from Cape Canaveral, Fla., by U.S. frogmen operating from the rescue tug Kiowa. Able and Baker were the first U.S. animalnauts to be recovered live from a missile flight. Although they had experienced 38 g's on reentry, both monkeys appeared to be in good condition. However, Able died a few days later, presumably from the effects of an anesthetic administered prior to removing an electrode embedded in her skin. Able, a native of Independence, Kans., had been a last-minute replacement for a fully trained Indian rhesus. The Indian rhesus was dropped from the experiment because it was feared that U.S.-Indian relations might be strained by use of an animal considered sacred in that country. There was insufficient time to train Able, and as a result one of the tests planned for the flight had to be abandoned.

Date: Dec. 4, 1959

Name: Sam

Species: Male rhesus monkey

Spacecraft: Little Joe rocket

Nation: U.S.

American-born Sam was rocketed to an altitude of 55 mi. while encased in a capsule kept at constant room temperature and provided with a full oxygen supply. He was parachuted back to Earth and recovered in good condition.

Date: January, 1960

Name: Miss Sam

Species: Female rhesus monkey

Spacecraft: Little Joe rocket

Nation: U.S.

Miss Sam flew for 8 minutes to an altitude of 9 mi. She was reunited with Sam aboard an aircraft carrier, and the two exchanged relieved hugs. Her flight was an important test of the abort system, in which a space vehicle is freed by an escape rocket in the event of an explosion or fire in the boosting rocket.

Date: Aug. 19, 1960

Name: Belka and Strelka

Species: Female Samoyed huskies

Spacecraft: Sputnik 5--Spacecraft 2

Nation: U.S.S.R.

Strelka and Belka completed just over 17 orbits of the earth in 25 hours, and were the first animalnauts to be safely recovered from orbit. The dogs were accompanied on the flight by seeds, microbes, rats, mice, and plants, all chosen for their widely different levels of evolutionary development. It had been established in the laboratory how each would react to various levels of radiation, and all the organisms were tested after the voyage. During the flight the animals ate and functioned normally, quickly adjusting to weightlessness. Both Belka and Strelka later had several litters of genetically normal puppies, and one of Strelk's puppies was given to Pres. John F. Kennedy.

Date: Dec. 1, 1960

Name: Ptsyolka and Mushka

Species: Female Samoyed huskies

Spacecraft: Sputnik 6--Spacecraft 3

Nation: U.S.S.R.

Seventeen orbits were completed in good condition, but the angle of reentry was too steep and the animalnauts' capsule burned up.

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