Félicette, the first cat launched into space in 1963

Félicette, the first cat launched into space in 1963

Félicette, the first cat launched into space in 1963

On this day during on October 18, 1963, Félicette, a black and white female Parisian stray cat, became the first cat launched into space. She was launch on this day in 1963 as part of the French space program.

Félicette the first cat into space
first cat launched into space

However, Félicette, the only cat to have ever survive in the space, is now being recognise for her extraterrestrial achievements in the form of a bronze statue at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.

Matthew Serge Guy, who created a fundraising campaign to build a memorial for the first cat in space, poses with the completed statue of Félicette. (Image credit: Courtesy of Matthew Serge Guy)
Matthew, a memorial for the first cat in space
Félicette new memorial statue at the International Space University in Strasbourg France

However, she was the only cat successfully launch into space. Félicette was one of 14 female cats traine for spaceflight.

14 female cats traine for spaceflight

The cats had electrodes implant onto their skulls so their neurological activity could be monitor throughout the flight. Electrical impulses were appliy to the brain and a leg during the flight to stimulate responses.


The capsule was recover 13 minutes after the rocket was ignit. Most of the data from the mission was of good quality, and Félicette survived the flight. A second feline was killed in a launch mishap on October 24, 1963.

Félicette spacecat

Félicette had the designation of C 341 before the flight, and after the flight the media gave her the name Félix, after Félix the Cat. Centre d’Enseignement et de Recherches de Médecine Aéronautique (CERMA) modified this to the feminine Félicette and adopted it as her official name.

She has been commemorat on postage stamps around the world and a statue with her likeness is on display at the International Space University.

first space cat back alive

France’s feline biological rocket payloads were preceded by rats and followed by monkeys.

During on November 3, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Laika, the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika is a stray dog found on the streets of Moscow, into space on Sputnik 2. Unfortunatly, she died in space.

First animals in space

  • The first dogs to return from space alive were Belka and Strelka (‘Squirrel’ and ‘Little Arrow’). It launched on 19 August 1960 by the Soviet space programme. Strelka gave birth to six puppies. One of which was gave to US President John F Kennedy by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
  • The first fish in space were South American guppies. They spent 48 days in orbit on the Russian Salyut 5 spacecraft in 1976.
  • In 1973, a common-cross spider named Arabella became the first to spin a web in space. However, an answer to the question of whether webs can be spun in zero gravity.
  • An American monkey named Albert II went into space on a V2 in 1949 and a mouse in 1950. In the 1960s, guinea pigs, frogs, cats, wasps, beetles and a chimpanzee followed.
  • In 2007, Russian scientists celebrated after a cockroach named Hope became the first creature to conceive in space – giving birth to 33 cockroaches aboard a Foton-M satellite.