Félicette, The First Cat In Space

Before humans were sent to outer space, various species of animals were sent to space as a test of survival against space flight. Some of the animals that have been sent to space include dogs, monkeys, cats, turtles, mice and insects.

However, few are aware of the existence of a street cat from Paris named Félicette as the first cat selected to be sent to space by the French government for their space program.

Previously, French scientists had launched three mice into space and they wanted to upgrade to larger mammals to study animal response to anti-gravity. Along with other cats, the Félicette must undergo some rigorous training to go into space. The cats have been trained to be in tight containers and some other tests.

Finally, in October 1973, Felicatte became the only cat ever selected for a space mission. The black-and-white cat was tied to a container in a rocket named Veronique and launched into space from a base in the Sahara desert.

It flies 100 miles above the earth and its in space for a few minutes in zero gravity. Scientists at that time also monitored its development through electrodes mounted on felicette heads. After 15 minutes, on reaching the ground, the capsule carrying the Félicette was separated from the rocket and it landed via a parachute that was once attached to the capsule.

Finally, Félicette was safely returned by the scientists upon landing. Unfortunately for the felicitate, even though she lived after landing on earth, she was killed several months later because scientists wanted to study the effects of space travel on her brain.

Now, in honor of the Félicette service of the science in spacecraft, several attempts to dedicate the Félicette's name to French history have been made. This included plans to create a memorial for a Félicette in Paris and make a Félicette stamp (they misspelled it as a Felix because they thought it was a male cat).

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