During the early years of space flight, animals were frequently flown into space and their bodies examined to investigate the various physiological effects microgravity and space flight might have on them. Most space agencies involved in these experiments chose rats, dogs, and monkeys. The French chose cats. The purpose of these experiments was to study the neurological effects of space travel, and the French scientists already had a significant amount of neurological data on felines.
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One of the many cats shortlisted for the flight, strapped to a restraining apparatus that would be used on rocket flight. Photo: G. Chatelier/CERMA