The Soviet Union launched a series of Sputnik satellites. Sputnik
2 carried a dog named Laika into space on November 2, 1957. She
was first living creature to orbit the Earth. Sources describe
her as either a mixed-breed or a Husky. She lived for seven days
in space, until her oxygen supply was exhausted. Her vital signs
were monitored by sensors and transmitted to the Earth via telemetry
The Sputnik 2 spacecraft weighed 1120 pounds.
The U.S. Army launched a squirrel
monkey named Gordo aboard a Jupiter AM-13 booster. The launch
date was December 13, 1958. Gordo made the suborbital flight
with no adverse effects, but could not be recovered because the
flotation mechanism of the rocket's nose cone failed.
The U.S. launched two monkeys on a Jupiter booster on May 28,
1959. Both monkeys survived the 300 mile flight into space and
were recovered. This was a suborbital flight.
One of the monkeys was a female rhesus monkey named Able. The
other was a female squirrel monkey named Baker.
The two monkeys were instrumented with electrodes to monitor
their vital signs during the flight. After the flight, Able died
on an operating table as doctors performed surgery to remove
the sensors from underneath her skin. The cause of death was
Sam was a rhesus monkey. Sam was launched into space on board
the first U.S. Little Joe animal flight on December 4, 1959.
He survived the suborbital flight and was recovered.
The U.S. launched a chimpanzee named Ham on a suborbital flight
on January 31, 1961. He flew in a Mercury spacecraft launched
on a Redstone booster rocket. The launch site was Cape Canaveral,
He weighed 37 pounds and was four years old.
Ham experienced about seven minutes of weightlessness during
his suborbital flight. A number of medical sensors were attached
to Ham to monitor his vital signs.
During this flight, Ham performed some simple tasks such as pulling
a right-hand lever when a white light came on and a left-hand
lever when a blue light came on. The experiment was designed
so that he would be rewarded with banana pellets for making the
correct choice but would received an electric shock through his
feet for an incorrect choice.
Furthermore, Ham's rocket experienced a number of anomalies.
As a result, he traveled 122 miles further down range than planned.
Also, he experienced a re-entry deceleration of almost 15 G.
His spacecraft splashed down in the ocean and took on water before
the rescue helicopters arrived, but he was successfully recovered.
Afterwards, Ham was in good spirits and posed for pictures with
the sailors on the recovery ship.
A chimpanzee named Enos was launched into orbit on November 29,
1961. The spacecraft was called Mercury 5. Enos made two orbits
of the Earth. He was recovered after the flight.
UNNAMED TURTLES, FLIES AND WORMS
The Soviet Union sent some turtles, flies, and worms around the
the Moon in the Zond 5 mission in 1968.
LAPIK AND MULTIK
Two monkeys were launched in a Russian
Bion No. 11 spacecraft, on December 24, 1996. They spent two
weeks in space.
One of the monkeys, named Multik, died
one day after the spacecraft landed back on Earth. The monkey
died during a post-flight surgical operation. The purpose of
the surgery was to collect muscle and blood cell samples.
Multik was a macaque monkey.
The other monkey, named Lapik, survived.