The home to the wandering cat..

Friday, 19 April 2013

Cat's In Space?! - Cats in the hall of fame

Many animals have been sent in man's plight to touch the moon. It is common knowledge monkeys made safe journeys around the earths orbit and lived to tell the tale, like Able.

Able on exhibit
Able was the first monkey who successfully returned from orbit back in 1959. He lived for another 26 years before dying 26 years later due to a reaction to anesthesia, whilst undergoing surgery to remove an infected medical electrode. He is now an exhibit at the National Air and space museum, USA.

Unfortunately not all animals made it safely back. People had no idea on the effect of being in space orbit would have on biological organisms. Many animals died from suffocation, overheating or drowning at sea on impact. However to minimize stress animals would anesthetized before lift off and were only sent into space once. It was all to test whether humans could survive long periods of weightlessness, scientists had been debating for years whether it was possible. It certainly taught the rocket scientists a lot about space. I will leave you to decide whether you think it was worth saving human lives or not.

Many different animals were sent to test the different effects.

Monkeys of several species were used; The rhesus monkey, cynomolgus monkeys, squirrel monkeys, pig-tailed monkeys and even some chimpanzees.
Mice, bees, frogs, worms, turtles, stick insects and other insects.
Fruit flies were the very first animal ever sent, they made it home safe.
Rabbits and rats. lots made it home, lots of them did not.
After monkeys they tried dogs as they thought these would be calmer during space flight. Many of the dogs are unsung heroes. JFK was given a space dogs puppy, as a gift for his grandchildren.

Several cats were trained, 10 decommissioned as they ate too much!

But I know you're here to hear about if kitties were able to become space-cats. The answer is yes. Felix and Felicette are two well know cats from the space program in France.

A not so glamorous shot of astr-cat Felicette

Felix was a stray, black and white cat,taken from the streets of Paris. He went trough training but not long before the flight he was reported to have escaped.
So instead Felicette was quickly trained and sent up instead in 1963. It was a short flight lasting 15 minutes but she travelled 100 miles into space which is when she was released in a capsule with a a parachute.
The flight was a success and she was recovered in good health. what became of her is unsure but British papers called her "astro-cat" and stamps were released all over the world but because of felix's last minute ditch they all had his name and face on them.

"Felicette on recovery"
I tip my hat to Felicette the female feline who risked her life in the name of science, robbed of the face of stamps and nearly forgotten.
stamps showing Felix instead of Felicette

Since then other cats have attempted space one weightless experiment was uploaded to youtube. i think the experiment is to see if the cats would know they are floating or to see if they would still try to flip over.

some other videos i found, some more questionable than others.

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