The Incredible Story of the First Cat in Space

Have you ever heard of Félicette, a.k.a. "astro cat"?

Félicette

Félicette

Félicette was truly a strong and incredible cat. This black and white feline was a stray from the streets of Paris before she was chosen to take part in a quest that astronauts all over the world will never forget: she played a leading role in the early conquest of space in the 1960s.

While many animals have been sent into space for experiments, Félicette was unique for her kind: she was the first cat to ever experience space exploration, and the only one to survive the experiment and return safely back to Earth in October of 1963.

The bold unknown

The bold unknown

In reality, the experiment was much shorter than many believe: she only had about 15 minutes of flight before being sent back to Earth via a parachute on her capsule. Thankfully, she was able to resist the load factors of the aircraft and didn't suffer from much dizziness afterward.

With her colleague

With her colleague

Félicette underwent several training sessions before embarking on her mission, to prepare her and test her results. These included high-G centrifuges and compression chambers that mimicked some of the effects of being in space.

Today, Félicette is a legend

Today, Félicette is a legend

We're not sure if she was ever offered any awards for her service, but what we do know is: she deserved them.

Although many people are unaware a cat was ever sent into space, her story getting overshadowed by others from the 60s, her legend does live on. You can even find clothes, stickers, and pins modeled after her!

In 2017, a British man named Matthew Serge Guy started a Kickstarter to fund a statute commemorating the brave feline. He says, "It's time for The Astrocat to get the memorial she rightly deserves."

 

Sources : Le Parisien , Focus.it, Slate