For some reason, the first dog to fly to space and the first monkey to fly to space get so much more press than their feline colleague. You might have heard the names and the stories of Albert the monkey (the first living creature sent to space by NASA in 1949) and Laika the dog (sent by the Russians in 1957).
But you might not know the story of Félicette, who visited space in 1963 and returned to Earth unharmed (unlike either Albert or Laika). She was sent by the French space agency, and as the Huffington Post writes, she flew 97 miles above Earth for 12 minutes with five minutes of weightlessness.
Now, a British man wants to give Félicette her due by building a statue of the feline in Paris, and he’s created a Kickstarter page to make it happen. Matthew Serge Guy’s goal is $52,782, and as of this writing, 126 backers have pledged $13,024.
As Guy wrote on the Kickstarter page, “It’s a shame Félicette story isn’t more widely known. And that the few commemorations she has received are miscredited to Félix (who actually never existed at all). With other animal astronauts having statues and lasting memorials, we think Félicette deserves one too.”
As for what the statue might look like, Guy isn’t sure. But he posted some early sketches to give his potential backers an idea.