Challenger #1: MONKEYS Gordo
(top left, aka "Old Reliable") was launched by NASA at Cape Canaveral on December 13, 1958. After soaring majestically for 1500 miles and climbing to a height of 310 miles, a parachute malfunction sent him and his rocket careening into the Atlantic Ocean. He "suffered no ill effects" from the entry into space, nor from the effects of weightlessness. The parachute malfunction probably caused some fairly serious problems, though. Does death by atomization count as an "ill effect"? Able & Baker
(top right, bottom left is Baker solo) were launched on May 28, 1959. They were weightless for 9 minutes and survived pressure 38 times greater than we experience here on Earth. Both Able & Baker were recovered after the mission and both appeared unharmed. A few months later, Able died during an operation to remove the electrodes they had planted in him. Oopsies!
(bottom right) was launched out of Virginia on December 4, 1959, achieved a maximum altitude of 280,000 feet, then floated back to Earth and landed safely in the Atlantic. For the first time in recorded history, sending a monkey into space was totally fucking boring. Challeger #2: DOGS
(top left & right) was the first living creature to enter Earth's orbit on November 3, 1957. She died a few hours after launch, but let's face it - where do you go from there as a dog, anyway? Her legacy survives today mostly in the form of