The first space feline that helped pave the way for humans to travel into space – like the dog Laika-, was launched by France 55 years ago now.
On October 18, 1963, a Parisian street cat called Félicette He became the first and only feline to travel into space. He launched himself on a Véronique AG1 rocket and flew about 157 kilometers above Earth, where he briefly experienced weightlessness.
His rocket was raised up to six times the speed of sound and exposed to 9.5 G force. Fifteen minutes later, He returned to Earth safely, parachuting into his small space capsule, safe and sound.
Félicette was one of 14 cats selected by the French space program to undergo a space flight training. His participation in the space race was certainly not voluntary, but it was a great milestone for France, which had just established the third civil space agency in the world (after the US and the Soviet Union). The mission of Félicette helped France participate in the space race.
The training involved the same type of centrifuge in which human astronauts sit during their preflight training. The cats also had electrodes implanted in their brains so that scientists could control their neurological activity.