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Crowdfunding campaign to honor only cat to fly in space

A crowdfunding campaign has been started to build a 5-foot-tall bronze statue in honor of Félicette, the only cat to fly in space.

While the first dog in space, Laika, has a statue, and the first chimp, Ham, has a memorial, Félicette has close to nothing. There are some commemorative stamps honoring a mythical space cat “Felix.” But Felix’s portrait doesn’t look like Félicette and it has a male name, so this is not enough for Guy. If anything, he says, the stamps simply help erase the existence of female astronauts.

The French space program gathered 14 cats, implanted electrodes into their brains, and put them through training similar to the way that they train human astronauts. They ultimately chose Félicette to make the trip, either because of her docile personality, or because she had not put on too much weight, according to differing accounts.

She was launched into space from Algeria [in 1963], and made it nearly 100 miles above Earth. For five minutes, she was weightless. Félicette came back to Earth unharmed, parachuting down and being retrieved only 13 minutes after having left her home planet. She stayed at the program’s lab for two to three months, according to Guy, but scientists later killed her to study the effects of space travel on her body.

Seems to me to be the right thing to do.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

8 comments

  • Laurie

    A symbol of cat oppression if there ever was one.

  • LocalFluff

    With nine lives, cats are purrfect astronauts.

  • ken anthony

    Give the cat a statue, but keep perspective.

  • Laurie

    Mr Anthony,

    Thank you very much for the link.

  • Mike Borgelt

    “but scientists later killed her to study the effects of space travel on her body.”
    BASTARDS.
    The cat should have been found a good home and left to live out her natural life.

  • Bill

    Wait- killing her seems like the right thing to do?

  • Steve Earle

    “…..Félicette came back to Earth unharmed, parachuting down and being retrieved only 13 minutes after having left her home planet. She stayed at the program’s lab for two to three months, according to Guy, but scientists later killed her to study the effects of space travel on her body….”

    Yeah, that jumped out at me too….. So she’s in “space” for a few minutes at best, comes back unharmed, is observed for 2 or 3 months, and THEN they decide they should cut her up to “study the effects of space travel….”??

    Scientists can be so short-sighted, they would have served their own interests far better if they had taken her on a publicity tour and let people pet the “Space Cat” in order to drum up public support for their program. Not to mention being far more humane to the cat….

  • Cotour

    Want to really PO a lot of people to the point where they will come for you and want to take you away and want to do harm to you?

    Tell them that you have for no discernible reason senselessly killed and cat or a dog. Only because it happened so many years ago there is not a public driven political call for firings and prosecutions.

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