This is the curious story of the first two Latin American animals that went into space: Did they survive the trip?


In the midst of the space race unleashed by the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960sa Latin American country had its own scientific program to explore the cosmos. Like the world powers, they wanted to put a man out of Earth’s orbit.

So, very similar to what they did from the POT and the then Soviet space program, Latino astronomers practiced with spacecraft manned by animals.

This is how the history of the now extinct Argentine space program developed, a pioneer at the time since it was in charge of sending the first two animals of our region to the highest of our skies.

We recently talked about what Laika the dog suffered when she died in the middle of the Soviet Union experiment. So, it is obvious that we wonder if the fate of these animals of the Argentine space initiative had the same fate.

Fortunately, the projects ended in a happy ending for the animals, although they were not really productive in terms of scientific results.

Belisario the mouse and Juan the monkey: Latin animals that tried to travel to space

According to what El Tiempo reviews, citing Argentine newspapers of the time, the only negative is that the spaceships designed by the then gaucho land program failed to settle in outer space.

In the case of the space probe that carried Belisarius the mouse, in April 1967, the parachutes unexpectedly opened just before crossing the land border. After this eventuality, the machine returned to the mainland with the rodent alive and without consequences from the rocket launch.

While the spacecraft that carried Juan, the monkey (December 1969), saw its engines turn off when it reached 82 thousand meters, a height at which it is already considered to be in space.

The capsule never lost oxygen pressurization and the animal’s vital signs remained intact.

The only negative for monkey Juan was that he was heavily sedated so that he could withstand the acceleration and fall, and after his arrival on land he was very disoriented. Nothing a couple of days couldn’t fix. The primate continued his life in a zoo in Misiones, the same province of Argentina where the animal was born.

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