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Credit: Atlas Obscura

A Timeline of Animal Astronauts

You may already know the story of Laika, the stray dog from Moscow who became the first animal to orbit earth on a journey that resulted in her death. (If you’re unfamiliar, read Time‘s recent article on the sad story.) Laika, however, isn’t the only animal to venture beyond Earth.


Atlas Obscura, the international guide to unusual destinations, compiled this small timeline of the animal Space Race. Just three years after Laika’s tragic journey, Belka and Strelka traveled to space on Sputnik 5 and survived. The Soviet Union wasn’t the only country that sent furry pals into the unknown. American chimp Ham made the journey in 1961 and the French sent a rat named Hector on a rocket ride that same year. This practice isn’t a thing of the past. Just this year, five geckos, part of an experiment on sex in space, died on a Russian satellite.