In July 1969, Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin successfully performed the first crewed lunar landing. Millions of people gawped at their televisions as these two men took humankind’s first steps on the moon’s surface. However, the way for this milestone in history was paved by dozens of courageous animals who contributed to scientific knowledge without hesitation. Those adorable creatures were as heroic as the first human astronauts, and these stories about them are here to prove it!
By the end of the 50s, most countries were trying to win the space race. Russia would go to any lengths to surpass its competitors, so much so that it became the first nation to send a living creature to outer space.
Famously known as the first living creature to orbit Earth, Laika was a stray dog that got launched to the stars on November 3, 1957, to test how safe the conditions were for sending a human into space. Since no technology for a return trip existed then, the poor pup never came back.