France: Bronze statue of world's first space cat to be erected

The credit goes to a fund-raising campaign which was launched to immortalise the legacy of the cosmic feline.

France: Bronze statue of world's first space cat to be erected
Representational image

New Delhi: A bronze statue of Felicette, the world's first and only cat to have travelled to space, may soon be erected in France, a report says.

The credit goes to a fund-raising campaign which was launched to immortalise the legacy of the cosmic feline.

On October 18 in 1963, Felicette was launched atop a Veronique AG1 rocket and flew nearly 157 kilometers above the Earth, briefly experiencing weightlessness.

Fifteen minutes later, she safely returned to Earth by parachuting down in her little space capsule - alive and well.

However, Felicette's legacy has long been overshadowed by the many dogs, monkeys, and chimps that flew to space in the 1960s.

"Around 6 months ago, I came across a tea towel commemorating the 50th anniversary of the cat who went to space," said Matthew Serge Guy, a Creative Director working in London who started the campaign on the fund-raising website Kickstarter.

"There was no name for the cat on the towel, nor did it resemble Felicette, and it was illustrated in a constructivist style, naturally leading me to think it was Russia who sent a cat to space," Guy said.

"After Googling it, I became fascinated with Felicette's story, how it had been forgotten over the years, and (like the design of the tea towel) misattributed. It felt like something big should be done to right these wrongs," he said.

"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," according to the Kickstarter campaign.

(With Agency inputs)