Before the United States or Soviet Union sent humans into space, they sent animals first to make sure it was possible to orbit the Earth and come back safely. While both nations used a variety of animals, they also considered using cats. While neither country actually launched a cat into space, France did.

On October 24th, 1963, France’s Centre national d’études sent a cat named Fèlicette on a 15-minute-long suborbital spaceflight. She survived, and was later studied by French scientists at the Education Center of Aviation and Medical Research (CERMA), to see whether or not her brain had been impacted by spaceflight.

Perhaps cats can be used in the future to determine if it’s possible to travel faster than light or if it’s possible for animals to survive on other planets like Mars. Then again, cats will probably prefer the comfort of home while dogs, monkeys, and humans risk their lives while the cats live in luxury.

To read more about cats helping scientists learn more about spaceflight, click here.

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