After researchers at the Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherches de Médecine Aéronautique (CERMA) recruited 14 cats into a rigorous training program, Félicette—a sweet-tempered former stray—was granted the golden ticket, Emily Petsko reported for. After researchers at the Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherches de Médecine Aéronautique (CERMA) recruited 14 cats into a rigorous training program, Félicette—a sweet-tempered former stray—was granted the golden ticket, Emily Petsko reported for Mental Floss in 2018. on Kickstarter! Many countries used animals in early space programs including the U.S. Russia, China and Japan, but France included cats. Sign up with your email address to become a Moon Cadet! Electrical impulses were applied to the brain and a leg during the flight to stimulate responses. 47. 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The first and only cat in space is finally being honored with a statue all her own. There’s all that … In 2017, creative director Matthew Serge Guy launched a … Guy did not want to publicize the event widely, according to Space.com, as he was uncertain if the statue would arrive on time. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Guy was able to raise over fifty thousand dollars from more than a thousand donors to have sculptor Gill Parker design a statue cast in bronze by Sculpture Castings in Basingstoke, United Kingdom. He is considering doing a second, more publicized, event in October, the fifty-seventh anniversary of Félicette’s trip. (Image credit: Courtesy of Matthew Serge Guy) Maria McCutchen + 3 years ago. Related Article: Astro-Tortoise: The First Animal to Orbit the Moon. But all the while, scientists kept close tabs on the kitty, monitoring her breathing and heart rate through a series of electrodes implanted throughout her body. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Eventually, the capsule that contained Félicette detached from its rocket and parachuted safely back to the ground. A Kickstarter project is crowdfunding for a public statue memorializing Félicette, the first cat rocketed into space in 1963. by Allison Meier November 3, 2017 November 3, 2017. Over the last 54 years, the story of the first and only cat to go to space has been largely forgotten. We have all heard of the dogs and monkeys that were sent into space in the 1960s to test the effects of space travel, but few remember Félicette, the only cat sent into space. Get it as soon as Wed, Aug 26. On New Year’s Day, 1959, Brazil’s Army Technical School had made preparations for blasting a tomcat named Flamenco up 70 miles into the sky while monitoring her health, before deploying the capsule’s parachute for a return to earth. Upon his death, Ham the chimpanzee was eulogized, and his partial remains sent for burial at the International Space Hall of Fame, and at least two monuments have been constructed in memory of Laika the dog. FIRST CAT GEAR. Moon Queen Ringer. FREE Shipping on your first order shipped by Amazon. Email Address. Félicette, a petite tuxedo kitty, wasn’t the first non-human animal to leave our planet’s atmosphere. Félicette, a former stray who was sent into space by French researchers in 1963, now has a bronze statue in her honor at France’s International Space University. Who is Mr. Pebbles? The First Cat in Space Deserves a Memorial Copy Link Facebook Twitter Reddit Flipboard Pocket On October 18, 1963, a small rocket took off from a launchpad in Hammaguir, Algeria. The French Centre national d’études spatiales was joining in with the Soviets and the United States in the race for the moon and decided they would send a cat into space. The capsule was recovered 13 minutes after the rocket was ignited. HowStuffWorks. Guy is currently asking those who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign to answer a survey about whether they would be interested in an unveiling open to them and their guests. More than 1,100 patrons donated $57,000 to honor Félicette. She launched atop a Véronique AG1 rocket … The statue is about five feet tall and is housed inside the Pioneer’s Hall at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France along with a memorial to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space according to Space.com. Smithsonian Institution, Félicette, the only cat to have ever survived a sojourn into space, is now being recognized for her extraterrestrial achievements in the form of a bronze statue at the, France had so far only sent rats to space. Katherine J. Wu is a Boston-based science journalist and Story Collider senior producer whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Undark magazine, Popular Science and more. In 1963, Félicette was the first and only cat to make the journey into space. https://t.co/JXNJ9ICBMg pic.twitter.com/gv6dVnlQdi, — SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) January 24, 2020. We have all heard of the dogs and monkeys that were sent into space in the 1960s to test the effects of space travel, but few remember Félicette, the only cat sent into space. The unveiling of Félicette’s statue was only attended by about 100 people. The purpose of the experiment was to explore the effects of radiation exposure at high altitudes. A French cat named Félicette became the first and only cat to ever travel to space. The First Cat in Space Will Receive a Proper Memorial. After lagging behind its Soviet and American competitors, France was eager to stake its claim in the space race—with cats, for some reason. Matthew Serge Guy, who created a fundraising campaign to build a memorial for the first cat in space, poses with the completed statue of Félicette. There have been several animals that have gone up into space over the years, and if you can recall any names, you probably most remember the names, Ham the chimpanzee and Laika the dog. However, the first cat in space has been largely forgotten by history. Before Félicette, France had so far only sent rats to space. In the 1950s and '60s, scientists around the world launched a veritable menagerie of creatures into space. JOIN THE FIRST CLUB IN SPACE! A Persian house cat, Mr. Pebbles was the first animal sent into space by the United States Space Administration in 1961. LOZ 4000 Ringer. 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NASA sent Ham, a chimpanzee, into space for Project Mercury. 1940s. “It's time for The Astrocat to get the memorial she rightly deserves,” Guy wrote on the original campaign page. The space race in the 1960s was full of space experiments using animals. Privacy Statement An online campaign raised more than $57,000 to honor Félicette, a black and white stray launched by the French in 1963. Her five-foot-tall statue, designed by sculptor Gill Parker, depicts her perched atop Earth, gazing up toward the skies she once traveled. Unfortunately, lasers and microsurgery were still decades away and the only way to study the effects on her was to euthanize her so they could remove the electrodes in the brain for testing, according to Space.com. In their early bids for an eventual lunar landing, both the United States and the former USSR sent their own menageries of creatures into space, including a dog named Laika in 1957 and a chimpanzee called Ham in 1961. Unveiled in December, the memorial is the culmination of a Kickstarter campaign launched in October 2017 by cosmic cat enthusiast Matthew Serge Guy. On October 18, 1963, French scientists launched the first cat into space on a Veronique AGI sounding rocket No. This diverges from our own timeline, where a … A few months after her return, she was euthanized so that the scientific team could examine her brain. The cat, named Félicette, was successfully retrieved after a parachute descent, but a second feline flight on October 24 ran into difficulties that prevented recovery. It's a wonderful story to be sure, but the kitty premise is not enough to carry an entire manuscript even as short as this. That October, Félicette—then designated C341—was launched from a base in the Sahara Desert, reaching an altitude of about 100 miles above Earth. She landed fifteen minutes later, fit and healthy. 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Félicette was the first cat launched into space, on 18 October 1963 as part of the French space program. The first animals sent into space were fruit flies aboard a U.S.-launched V-2 rocket on 20 February 1947 from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. His replacement was a female cat Félicette which was launched on 18 October 1963 riding the French Véronique AG1 rocket from Algerian Sahara desert rocket base. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Give a Gift. The statue shows Félicette sitting atop a sphere of the earth and looking up to the stars. A series of postage stamps, intended to celebrate the cat’s contributions, actually mislabeled her as a male cat named Felix. The site also reports that the first cat into space was supposed to have been launched from Brazil. Male cat called Felix was chosen to undertake first mission but on the day of the launch this soon to be space cat managed to escape! Félicette’s obscurity may be tied in part to the way early spaceflight has been recorded: primarily as a race between the USSR and the United States, leaving France and its astronauts, human and otherwise, as a secondary character. 99. In mid October 1963 everything was ready. On Oct. 18, 1963, a French cat named Félicette became the first and only feline to ever travel to space. The V-2 rocket reached 68 miles within less than four minutes, and then it ejected the blossom capsule which deployed its parachute successfully. “The internet’s an alright place sometimes.”. Nearly six decades after her journey, Félicette is now immortalized in bronze. To change that, Matthew Serge Guy from London, England started a campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds to honor the forgotten French feline. She deserves a proper memorial. Félicette, the only cat to have ever survived a sojourn into space, is now being recognized for her extraterrestrial achievements in the form of a bronze statue at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. Gizmodo reports that Félicette was a small, black and white tuxedo stray found in Paris in October of 1963. and other stuff we think up! Sign Up. Félicette, the First Cat in Space, Finally Gets a Memorial Last month, a team unveiled a bronze statue honoring the feline, who launched on a suborbital mission … The Secret History of the First Cat in Space On October 18th, 1963, the Centre national d’études in France was set to send a small cat named Félix into space. “Ham” the Chimp in space suit prior to its test flight which was conducted on January 31, 1961. It's a classic zero to hero tale: A stray cat is plucked from the streets of Paris and trained to be an astronaut. 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