Thousands of animals paved the way for human space travel. But for many of them, it was an incredibly painful – or deadly – experience. Stephen Walker tells Rhiannon Davies about this overlooked chapter of space exploration, from Soviet space dogs strapped to rockets and chimpanzees sent up by NASA, to two tortoises who orbited the moon.

Stephen Walker is the author of Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space (HarperCollins, 2021)


Rhiannon DaviesSection editor, BBC History Magazine

Rhiannon Davies is section editor for BBC History Magazine and our Tudor ambassador, writing a fortnightly newsletter in which she shares the latest Tudor news, anniversaries and content with her audience. She also regularly appears on the award-winning HistoryExtra podcast.