At the dawn of the space age, no one knew whether the human body could survive conditions of rocket launch and space flight. The US Space program experimented with a variety of primate species between 1948 and 1961, including rhesus monkeys, crab-eating macaques, squirrel monkeys, pig-tailed macaques, and chimpanzees.
On May 28, 1959, a squirrel monkey named “Miss Baker” became the first of the US space program, to survive the stresses of spaceflight and related medical procedures. A rhesus monkey called “Miss Able” survived the mission as well, but died four days later as the result of a reaction to anesthesia.
Soviet engineersexperimented withdogs on a number of orbital and sub-orbital flights, to determine the feasibility of human space flight. The Soviet Union launched missions with positions for at least 57 dogs in the fifties and early sixties, though the actual number is smaller. Some flew more than…
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