Félicette, the first cat to rocket into space, will be honored with a dedicated bronze statue in Paris thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that reached its funding target with mere hours to spare.
Félicette soared into the history books on October 18th, 1963 when a Diamant rocket carrying the black & white feline blasted off from Hammaguir in the Algerian desert. According to the French space agency, Félicette reached an altitude of 97 miles (157 km) and experienced weightlessness for about 5 minutes before her bio-capsule parachuted back to Earth. Unlike so many of her fellow astro-animals, Félicette survived her visit to the heavens though no return flights were in the offing.
Félicette's moment of glory quickly faded, however, and one Matthew Serge Guy thinks that's just not right. “Although other animals in space, such as Laika the dog and Ham the chimpanzee, are well-known within popular culture and have lasting memorials, very few people are aware that a cat went to space at all,” explains Guy. “Now it's time for 'The Astrocat' to get the memorial she rightly deserves.” Hear hear!
Guy's putting his (actually your) money where his mouth is by setting up an ambitious Kickstarter campaign aimed at getting Félicette her long-overdue memorial. We're not in the habit of posting ongoing funding campaigns unless they're reached their goal, and this one has: £40,651 pledged (at press time) towards the £40,000 goal by over a thousand backers, with 9 hours still to go! Guy estimates that Félicette's statue, to be created by noted animal sculptor Gill Parker, will be ready for installation somewhere in Paris by March of 2018. (via Newsweek, The New Stack, and Purr 'n' Fur)