Sound the alarm, Iran has sent a monkey into space! Oh, wait a second, we did that like 50 years ago. No biggie.
While Iran may be just beginning to launch its animal space program, the United States and Russia have had a long history of blasting helpless creatures into the unknown cosmos. Check out some of the NASA certified animals with the right stuff that ventured into the void of outer space.
In 1957, this little Soviet pup named Laika became the first animal to orbit Earth. The dog was a stray that was picked up by the space program. One minute you’re eating out of a dumpster, the next you’re circling over Africa. Weird.
NASA began using chimps in the early 1960s during their Mercury program. Around 20 chimps were trained at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Look how happy this little fella is about being blasted into the black void of the universe.
The use of primates in space exploration has continued in both the US and Soviet space programs up through the 1990s.
This little squirrel monkey from 1958, was secured with protective silicon rubber padding before being blasted into orbit. Supposedly he survived his flight but his capsule was lost at sea upon its return to Earth. Godspeed, monkey-naut.
Too late to turn back now, little buddy. Should have taken that gig with the perfume testing company.
Here is Ham the Chimp being greeted upon his recovery by the commander of the USS Donner in 1961. Bring on the champagne and go-go dancers!
Beating the odds and not meeting sudden death is reason to smile after a safe return to Earth in 1961.
Ham the chimp lived until 1983 and was referred in pop culture in everything from Space Cowboys to the Ricky Gervais Show. No idea if he got to keep that cool NASA hat after retirement.
For Astronomical Image Enhancement Engineer Brant Widgeon, the most difficult part of his job isn't cleaning up celestial bodies or white dwarfs, it's pesky photobombing space cats. We hear ya, Brant, damn cats are always ruining our Kodak moments, too.Click here to read more