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France To Fire Cat Into Space

Sept. 23, 1963 - France announced today she would fire a cat into space late next month aboard a rocket launched from the Sahara. At the Space Research Laboratories in Paris, the feline space candidates (pictured) are kept in boxes in order to train them in remaining still for long periods during rocket flights. Scientists plan to study the cat’s central nervous system under conditions of weightlessness as well as the effects of acceleration and deceleration. The animal capsule is to be parachuted back to earth after it reaches an apogee of 136 miles. France fired a rat into space on Feb. 22, 1961, and two others in October 1962. The U.S. and the Soviet Union used monkeys and dogs for tests before sending up human astronauts. The French said they would be the first nation to send up a cat. The French Government is budgeting about $50 million for its space program in 1964, nearly 50% more than the total for 1963.


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