First Cat In Area To Obtain A Correct Memorial

Relating to animals that heroically blasted off into house in the course of the house race, names like Laika the canine or Ham the chimpanzee are most likely the primary that come to thoughts. However one spacefaring feline who helped to pave the best way for people to go to house has gone largely unrecognized, and a brand new Kickstarter marketing campaign goals to vary that. 

On Oct. 18, 1963, a French cat named Félicette grew to become the primary and solely feline to ever journey to house. She launched atop a Véronique AG1 rocket and flew almost 100 miles (157 kilometers) above the Earth, the place she briefly skilled weightlessness. Her rocket soared as much as six instances the pace of sound and uncovered her to 9.5 g’s of power. Fifteen minutes later, she safely returned to Earth by parachuting down in her little house capsule — alive and nicely.

And similar to that, an unsuspecting tuxedo kitty plucked from the streets of Paris grew to become an area cat celeb. Sadly for Félicette, her legacy has lengthy been overshadowed by the various canines, monkeys and chimps that flew to house within the 1960s. “During the last 54 years, the story of the primary and solely cat to go to house has been largely forgotten. She deserves a correct memorial,” the Kickstarter web page reads. [Animals in Space: 10 Beastly Tales]

Now you may assist immortalize this unimaginable cat by contributing to a fund for a shiny, bronze statue of Félicette to be erected in her hometown of Paris, France. 

A photograph taken on Feb. 5, 1964 reveals a cat representing Félicette, the primary and solely cat to fly to house, with gear within the Veronique rocket throughout an exhibition at The Conservatoire Nationwide des Arts et Métiers (CNAM; Nationwide Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) in Paris.

Credit score: AFP/Getty


Fruit flies launched in 1947 became the first animals to reach outer space and be recovered alive. <a href="">See the history of animals in space in this infographic</a>.
Credit score: Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

Relying on how a lot you are keen to donate, rewards embody “autographed” postcards (that includes Félicette’s precise pawprint), enamel pin badges, tote baggage and printed pictures of Félicette. Probably the most beneficiant donors can have their names included on a plaque by the statue and will probably be given a small reproduction of the statue. 

“The primary chimp in house is buried on the Worldwide Area Corridor of Fame. The primary canine in house is immortalized in bronze. The primary cat has nothing,” an unnamed narrator says within the Kickstarter marketing campaign’s video. Félicette might have made headlines that may perpetually be positioned in previous newspaper archives, however to this point, there isn’t a everlasting memorial for this cosmic cat.  

Félicette was considered one of 14 cats chosen by the French house program to bear spaceflight coaching. Her participation within the house race was actually not voluntary, but it surely was an enormous milestone for France, which had simply established the world’s third civilian house company (after the U.S. and the Soviet Union). Félicette’s mission helped deliver France into the house race.

“Again then, scientists all over the world needed to know how the dearth of gravity might have an effect on animals — the concept being, if they will survive in house, then so can people. In reality, these cats went by the identical intensive coaching as human astronauts,” the video states. 

That coaching concerned the identical sort of centrifuge that human astronauts sit in throughout their preflight coaching. The cats additionally had electrodes implanted into their brains so scientists might monitor their neurological exercise. 

“In the end, it was Félicette who was chosen for the mission, as a consequence of her calm disposition,” the video states, “although some experiences say it was as a result of all the opposite cats had placed on an excessive amount of weight.” [Pioneering Animals in Space in Pictures]

Different experiences insinuate that Félicette was really a backup cat for an additional cat named Félix, who escaped on the day of his flight. Nevertheless, others have provided a distinct clarification for Félix the cat. 

In line with the video, the reminiscence of Félicette has been “additional obscured, as a sequence of commemorative stamps all assumed she was a male cat named Félix. Appears the widespread false impression that solely males are main the fields of science and engineering applies to cats, too. It is Félicette’s contributions to spaceflight analysis that may someday enable us to take our cats to the Martian colonies and past. For that, she deserves her rightful recognition.”

To contribute to Félicette’s memorial, go to the Kickstarter web page by Nov. 17, 2017. You possibly can donate as little as 1 euro (about $1.33), however to get any house cat swag, you may must donate no less than 10 euros (about $13). 

Electronic mail Hanneke Weitering at or observe her @hannekescience. Comply with us @Spacedotcom, Fb and Google+. Authentic article on