While dogs and monkeys have gotten more glory for going to space, the first animals to reach space were fruit flies. In 1947 the United States put fruit flies aboard a rocket to study radiation exposure at high altitudes. The first mammal sent to space was a rhesus macaque monkey named Albert II in 1949.
Many animals have been in space, including multiple monkeys, dogs, cats, bullfrogs, spiders, newts, and microscopic animals called water bears. Water bears are known for their resilience and were able to withstand a 10 day exposure to open space. One of the more famous animals sent to space was a little Soviet dog named Laika, sent into orbit in 1957 on a small satellite. Laika has since had children’s books and songs written about her.