What animals can live in space

Space history: The animal heroes of space travel


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Space pioneers are Juri Gagarin, Alan Shepard and John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Valentina Tereschkowa. But who remembers Laika, Ptscholka and Muschka, the bitches who gave their lives for science? What about Belka, Strelka and Tschernuschka, who returned from space before Gagarin dared the journey? Who honors Svyosdotschka, his immediate predecessor? Or the US monkeys Gordo, Able, Baker, Ham and Enos?

Not to mention the unbaptized fruit flies, which were the first animals to fly into space on February 20, 1947. The suborbital hop of a V2 rocket, i.e. that does not reach orbit, takes a good three minutes and, with a height of 109 kilometers, it just scratches the edge of space. The experiment aims to investigate the effect of radiation at high altitudes. The flies come back alive.

Albert II is not so lucky. The rhesus monkey, the first mammal in space, was shot with a V2 in June 1949 to a height of a good 130 kilometers. The parachute does not open on return; Albert II dies. His fate is shared by many of the numerous monkeys that US space explorers shot into space in the 1950s and 1960s. Gordo, for example, a squirrel monkey like Mr. Nilsson from the Pippi Longstocking films: In his spacesuit he survived the start in 1958 and eight minutes of weightlessness as well as the 40 times the gravity that affects him when he re-enters the earth's atmosphere - but then it fails Parachute, capsule and monkey sink into the sea.

Ham flies into space, the first chimpanzee in space



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Able and Miss Baker, a rhesus and a squirrel monkey, became the first primates to survive a space flight in 1959. Then the chimpanzees Ham and Enos are trained to operate levers in response to light signals during the flight. In 1961, Ham becomes the first chimpanzee in space and thus the pioneer of the first US space flight by Alan Shepard, Enos the first chimpanzee in orbit, the predecessor of the first American in orbit, John Glenn.

The greatest pioneering honor, however, goes to the bitch Laika, the first animal to enter the orbit of the earth. She is of proletarian origin: Laika ("yapper" in Russian) wanders through Moscow without a ruler until she is three years old, before the Soviet space agency hires her - in other words: catches her. The mixed breed - probably Siberian husky with traces of terrier, spitz or even beagle - is accustomed to tight cages, put in centrifuges, exposed to noise and vibrations.

Dogs and monkeys in space

Weterok and Ugoljok

When people in space were no longer a sensation, they posed two dogs the record for a stay in orbit on: Weterok ("Little Wind") and Ugoljok ("Little Coal") spent from February 22nd 1966 22 days in orbit by March 16. Of Cardiovascular irregularities apart from that, they returned safe and sound. Their mission is to this day the record for dogs - and was only surpassed by humans in 1974, when US astronauts spent four weeks in the Skylab 2 space station spent.

The bion monkeys

In the Soviet Bion program circled in the 1980s and 1990s A long time Rhesus monkeys around the Earth. Schankonja and Zabiyaka set the in Bion 9 with 13 days and 17 hours Long-term record for monkeys in space on. The Soviets made the rhesus monkey Drema after his flight with Bion 8, the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro as a gift. And the last space monkeys to date were Lalik and Multik, who returned with Bion 11 in 1997.

Post fame

The bitch Laika was on quite a few Postage stamps perpetuated. A statue in the Russian cosmonaut training camp Zwjozdnyj Gorodok ("Star City") near Moscow commemorates her. Belka and Strelka become thanks for their services stuffed after her death and today belong to the Moscow Space Museum. The Soviet head of state Nikita Khrushchev gives one of Strelka's puppies the family of the US President John F. Kennedy. Chimpanzee Ham occurs until his death in 1983 in movies on, for example with stunt star Evel Knievel. After Svyosdotschka, the sporting goods manufacturer Nike recently has one Running shoe named.

In a wired corset, Laika launched on the second satellite that the Soviets put into orbit, Sputnik 2, on November 3, 1957 from the Baikonur spaceport. Your heart beats three times faster than normal. After seven hours of flight there are no more signs of life: Laika dies of overheating, probably due to a defect in the thermal insulation, and of her fear.