Animals in Space.
Scientists were concerned about the unknown affects of weightlessness and other space environments on human astronauts. So animals were launched into space before any humans. Although some animals were sacrificed, their benefit to man kind shall always be remembered. In the following paragraphs I will attempt to describe some of the earliest animals in space and how they were used to our benefit. .
During the 1940's the USSR and the United States began believing that space flight was possible. Not knowing the affects of space flight on humans, animals were sent into space. So preparation for human space flight depended on the ability of animals to survive in space. The first animals sent into space were dogs. Dogs such as Laika.
Laika was a 3yr old Husky. She was sent into space November 3, 1957. She was aboard the space craft Sputnik 2. While in orbit she was supported by a harness that gave her access to food and water. Electrodes transmitted her vital signs. Three days into her flight the batteries in her life support ran down and life slipped away from Laika. Near the end of the fifties the Soviets used 13 space dogs to test space suits in the unpressurized cabins of space capsules. Five of the dogs died. .
Gordo the squirrel monkey went on a sub-orbital flight in December 19, 1958. He completed his flight safely. During recovery the flotation device in the nose cone malfunctioned, and Gordo died. Later the USA sent a rhesus monkey (named Able) and a squirrel monkey (named Baker) on a sub-orbital flight. They flew 300 miles up at speeds over 10,000 miles per hour. They were weightless for 9 minutes. They were both recovered successfully. .
Sputnik 5 was launched on August 19, 1960. On board were the two dogs Belka and Strelka and also on board were 40 mice and 2 rats. Strelka gave birth to six puppies; one was later given to JFK. Ham the chimp was launched into space on January 31, 1961.