Who Was the First Animal to go into Space?


The first rocket ever sent to space probably carried bacteria or some other accidental passenger. But the first animals ever intentionally sent into space were fruit flies launched aboard a V2 rocket in 1947. US scientists were studying the effects of radiation at high altitude.

A rhesus monkey called Albert 1 became the first monkey launched into space on June 11, 1948; also on board a US-launched V2 rocket.

These were just suborbital flights, though. The first animal to actually go into orbit was the dog Laika, launched on board the Soviet Sputnik 2 spacecraft on November 3, 1957. Unfortunately, Laika died during the flight.

A monument to Laika, the first dog to go into space, standing on top of a rocket, is unveiled in Moscow, Friday, April 11, 2008. Russian officials on Friday unveiled the monument to Laika, a mongrel dog whose flight to space more than 50-years ago paved the way for human space missions. The small monument is located near a military research facility in Moscow that prepared Laika’s flight to space on Nov. 3, 1957. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky) ** RUSSIA OUT NO ARCHIVE NO SALES NOT BE STORED OR USED FOR MORE THAN 30 DAYS AFTER THE DAY OF TRANSMISSION **

At least 10 more dogs were launched into space and on sub-orbital flights by the Soviets until April 12, 1961, when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

Since those first historic launches, many monkeys, chimpanzees, rats, mice, frogs, spiders, cats and even a tortoise were launched into space.