The name Félicette is not a world-known name. The name belongs to a French feline and she was the very first and only cat to ever be put into space. Félicette’s adventure through space was brief, as according to Space.com, “she launched atop a Véronique AG1 rocket and flew nearly 100 miles (157 kilometers) above the Earth, where she briefly experienced weightlessness. Her rocket soared up to six times the speed of sound and exposed her to 9.5 g’s of force. Fifteen minutes later, she safely returned to Earth by parachuting down in her little space capsule — alive and well”.
According to the Good News Network, “Matthew Serge Guy first found out about Félicette when he saw her picture on a vintage tea towel. After researching the trailblazing astro-cat, he found that her launch into space had become largely forgotten by the masses” and according to Kickstart, “although other animals have been in space, such as Laika the dog and Ham the chimpanzee, who are well-known within popular culture and have lasting memorials, very few people are aware that a cat went to space at all”.
Kickstart is holding a fund raiser for Félicette to try to create a statue for the cat because Félicette allowed scientists to prove that people could survive the vacuum of space. Space.com wrote that, “over the last 54 years, the story of the first and only cat to go to space has been largely forgotten. She deserves a proper memorial”.
The French cat was not the only cat who had the opportunity to experience space, Kickstart shed some light on the number of cats that were selected to participate, “for this mission alone she, alongside 13 other cats, experienced arduous training prior to the mission and it eventually took her life. In that respect, this statue should serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by all animal astronauts throughout the Space Race”.
The fundraising ended on November 17th and they raised $57,000 for the space cat. A statue is now in the works and will be placed in her hometown of Paris, France in hopes that they will never forget the tuxedo she-cat’s contribution to science, which proved that living creatures could survive in space.