The True History of Animals in Space


Which animals have been to space?

Everyone knows that dogs and chimps have been on spaceflights; but did you know that butterflies have too?

So have garden spiders. And gerbils. And geckos. And fertilised chicken eggs. And a whole bunch of others!

I was so fascinated by these true stories of animal astronauts that I decided to include an illustrated timeline at the end of my picture book, Stellarphant ⭐🐘🚀 ⁠

The back endpapers of Stellarphant

I did so much work on these endpapers; they took about as long to research and illustrate as the rest of the book combined!

And while I illustrated the animals and listed their names and spaceflight dates, there wasn’t quite enough room to include their stories as well.

So starting next week, I’m giving you an in-depth look at the True History of Animals in Space, as shown in the back endpapers of Stellarphant.


Please note: it won’t be an exhaustive list of all the animals that have been to space. There are many I’ve left out. ⁠I picked the ones I thought were the most interesting and/or the coolest to draw.

Chances are I’ve made some mistakes. ⁠But to the best of my knowledge, the information is correct.

I’ve used the Kármán Line (100km/62mi) as the definition of where space begins. Several animals have made flights to a lower altitude than this, so I haven’t included them in the list.⁠

Each date and mission I’ll list marks the first flight into space for each of these species (as far as I’ve been able to tell in my amateur research).⁠

Please also note that I’ll be posting the animals in the order they appear in the 2nd Australian edition of Stellarphant onwards (which is the same as the North American and Turkish 1st editions); unfortunately, the very 1st Aussie print run had a few errors that we had to fix!

So keep an eye out next week, when I start sharing the True History of Animals in Space.


Author: James Foley

James Foley makes children’s books for children who read books. If you’re a child and you’re eating his books, you’re doing it wrong. His books include Brobot, Dungzilla, Gastronauts, Chickensaurus, Toffle Towers, My Dead Bunny and There's Something Weird About Lena. James lives in Perth with his wife, 2 kids, and a labrador. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd and comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at www.jamesfoley.com.au .

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