Animals have been orbiting the earth since the 1950’s when Laika, a dog, was launched aboard the Soviet Sputnik 2 spacecraft. Laika died in orbit because the technology did not exist in those days to bring the dog back to earth. Several animals had reached space before that but had not made it into orbit, the first of which were fruit flies (Drosophila) in 1947. Animals play an enormously important role in understanding how microgravity affects the physiology of living organisms, including their cardiovascular system, respiratory system and behaviour, among other things. More recently, astronauts and cosmonauts have been studying animal behaviour aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Animals that have been studied in space include: wasps, beetles, tortoises, flies, fleas, worms, fish, spiders, rabbits, bees, ants, frogs, mice, crickets, rats, newts, snails, urchins, moths, brine shrimp, jellyfish, guinea pigs, butterflies, scorpions and cockroaches. Recently, a new dedicated rodent facility was launched to the ISS and has been housing mice for research purposes.

This presentation will give some background to the use of animals in Space and will give an overview of current challenges to carrying out research on animals aboard the International Space Station, with respect to welfare and practicalities from launch to beyond.

Dr Julie Keeble PhD AKC is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at King’s College London and Chief Scientist for the International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET). Julie has 20 years’ experience of in vivo pharmacology and has been working on behalf of ISSET and school pupils around the globe to send experiments to the ISS. In total, Julie has sent 19 experiments to the ISS and there are more in the pipeline, involving interactions with various astronauts, including Major Tim Peake. Julie has a particular interest in animals in space because of her Earth-bound experience of working with animals in research.

Chairman- Savilian Ken Allen