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The Mystery Behind The First Cat in Space

Via: Gizmodo


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    On October 18th, 1963, the Centre national d’études in France was set to send a small cat named Félix into space.

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    Via Gizmodo

    After lagging behind its Soviet and American competitors, France was eager to stake its claim in the space race—with cats, for some reason. 


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    But on launch day, the mischievous little beast went missing—and an accidental heroine stepped in to take his place. Her name was Félicette.

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    From the streets of Paris, this tuxedo kitty—nicknamed "Astrocat"—would reach heights never achieved by feline kind.



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    On October 24th, 1963, Félicette jetted 130 miles above Earth on a liquid-fueled French Véronique AG1 rocket, soaring high above the Algerian Sahara Desert.

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    Via Gizomodo

    She returned just fifteen minutes later, already a decorated heroine for her nation.


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    After her landing, French scientists at the Education Center of Aviation and Medical Research (CERMA) studied Félicette’s brain waves to see if she had changed at all since her voyage.

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    While not much is known about their findings—or about Félicette's eventual fate—the CERMA said she had made "a valuable contribution to research."


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    While France does have its own formidable space program, the French ultimately did not pursue sending humans into space on their nation’s own rockets.

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    That could explain Félicette's relative mysteriousness.


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