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In the early 1960s, the space race was in full fluctuation. Russians checked their space flight by sending a dog in it to space in 1957 and just like that Americans sent their chimp in 1961 as well as the French also entered in the running with a Félicette, a black-and-white tuxedo Cat , in 1963.
In first, they actually, want to send a male cat named Felix, but the little guy got scared and ran away right before the mission. And in that situation, of course, they had to set a female to complete the task. When our little guy ran away a Scientists from the Centre national France’s space agency, d’études spatiales, found Félicette roaming around streets et voilà, of Paris, and just like she was turned into the first (and only) feline in space from an alley cat.
Félicette was cramped into the Veronique AG1 rocket on the 18 October morning, in 1963, and because of a non-orbital flight, it’s wrecked into the sky only in 15 minutes. The capsule parachuted back down to the Earth, after reaching a height of 156 kilometers (roughly 130 miles), and fortunately, our little super kitty was safely recovered.
I heard about Russian dog Laika and American chimp Ham, in our history session, but I never heard about French kitty Félicette before in my any class, I think the same goes for you too, right? But there is also a question remain, why haven’t we heard about this story before? Well, the answer is unlike the US and Russia, France simply wasn’t a big player in the space race from the start.
While Russian dog Laika and American chimp Ham wide the way for human astronauts Yuri Gagarin and John Glenn, but France never followed up their super kitty space flight with a habitable mission. And hence, Félicette’s journey was relegated from the pages of history.