Celebrating the animal astronauts who paved the way for human spaceflight


NASA astronaut Cady Coleman shows the habitat that golden orb spiders Esmeralda and Gladys occupied on the International Space Station in 2011.  (Image credit: NASA)

From insects to primates, from dogs and cats to cold-blooded reptiles, animals have played a significant role in space exploration since the first fruit flies launched to Earth’s upper atmosphere in 1947. 

Animals were the earliest precursor to the human spaceflight program. International space agencies relied on a variety of animals to test the survivability of spaceflight, as well as the effects microgravity might have on human’s biological processes. 





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