The First Rabbit in Space

The First Rabbit in Space: What’s Its Name?

Have you ever wondered if the Looney Tunes short film Haredevil Hare held any truth? After all, Bugs Bunny was tricked into being the first rabbit sent into space. Well, as far out there as it sounds, rabbits have indeed traveled around the moon and back.

So what was the first little rabbit in space’s name?

The first rabbit in space’s name was Marfusha, fondly known as “Little Martha.” She was launched into space in 1959 with two dog companions named Otvazhnaya and Snezhinka. The three animals returned safely to earth. Marfusha went to space for the second time in 1960.

Would you like to know more about the first rabbit in space? This guide has all the interesting information you need.

Has a Rabbit Been in Space?

A gray rabbit was sent into space on July 2, 1959, with two dogs as her companions. Along for the trip were a few rats, mice, and fruit flies. 

They traveled in an R2-A rocket ship called the Korabl-Sputnik 5, which the Soviet Union launched.

What’s the Name of the Rabbit That Went to Space?

What’s the Name of the Rabbit That Went to Space

The first rabbit that went to space’s name was Marfusha, also known as “Little Martha.” She traveled with two dogs named Otvazhnaya (which means brave) and Snezhinka (which means snowflake).

Did you know? A special issue Romanian postage stamp was designed in 1959 in honor of Marfusha and her companions.

Did the Rabbit Survive Its Trip to Space?

Marfusha and her canine companions survived their sub-orbital (reaches outer space and then falls back to earth) trip to space. 

They were all in good health. Marfusha was sent into space for the second time in 1960 and returned home safely once more.

What Animal Was Sent First Into Space?

The first living creatures to go to space were fruit flies. They were transported in a V2 rocket and traveled 67 miles, and then fell back to earth. All the fruit flies survived. 

NASA recognizes 66 miles as the place where space begins. Therefore, fruit flies are the first animals in space.

The first vertebrate animal sent into space was a Rhesus monkey named Albert I in 1948. He was aboard the V-2 Blossom (a U.S. spacecraft). Unfortunately, Albert, I did not survive the trip as he suffocated during the flight.

In 1949, a second Rhesus monkey named Albert II was sent into space and traveled about 83 miles. Albert II survived the flight and sadly died on impact. 

In 1957, Laika, a samoyed-terrier (dog), was the first animal to make an orbital flight around the earth.

Sadly she did not survive her flight as her oxygen levels and food ran out. When the spacecraft (Sputnik 2) had completed 2,570 orbits, the spaceship and Laika’s bodies disintegrated when they re-entered the earth’s atmosphere.

Did you know? In 2007, a cockroach named “Hope” was the first species to have babies in space. The cockroach had 33 babies on the Foton-M satellite.

What Other Animals Have Been to Space?

Over the years, numerous animals (and insects) have been launched into space, such as bullfrogs and honey bees. Let’s take a closer look at some other animals that have been to space:


In 1960, Félicetten, nicknamed Astrocat, was the first feline sent to space. She underwent intensive training to prepare her for her trip to space. She traveled 130 miles beyond earth and returned home safely in a detachable capsule.

Guinea Pig

In March 1961, the first guinea pig was sent to space. Joining the guinea pigs were 80 mice and a dog. The animals landed safely back on earth a month later.

Did you know? During this trip, the Russians sent a human mannequin on the mission. This was to keep the animals company. The mannequin was named Ivan Ivanovitch.


Two tortoises were sent into deep space in 1968 on a circumlunar (around the moon) trip. They both survived their trip and landed safely in the Indian Ocean.


Ham, a three-and-a-half-year-old chimpanzee, flew into space in 1961. As the first human-like animal, he was sent to space to see if he could carry out simple tasks. He survived his trip and died at the age of 25 in the U.S. National Zoo in Washington.


In 1970, NASA sent two American bullfrogs into space. The bullfrogs orbited planet earth for a week and survived their trip.

Did you know? A bullfrog’s inner ear closely resembles a human’s. 

That is why the frogs were sent to space, so the scientists could see what happened to the otoliths (inner ear) after a long period of weightlessness. The bullfrogs’ bodies adapted to the environment.


In 2014, five geckos were sent into space as an experiment on weightlessness and sexual behavior in space. Unfortunately, all five of them died after the heating system in the spacecraft broke down.


In 1957, Laika, a stray dog from Moscow, was sent into space. She was the first animal to orbit the earth and flew on the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. The spacecraft was small, and there were only provisions for one meal and a seven-day oxygen supply.

Sadly, Laika died from oxygen deprivation after seven days in space.

Did you know? The Soviet Union preferred to send female dogs into space because they were more docile and smaller than male dogs.

My Last Bunny Thoughts 

While Marfusha did not walk on the moon like Bugs Bunny in Haredevil Hare, she certainly made history as the first rabbit to go to space. 

Marfusha and other animals, such as bullfrogs, chimpanzees, dogs, and honeybees, paved the way for humans to explore space travel.

Rabbits are remarkable animals, and if Marfusha’s trip to space proves anything, it’s that rabbits are more capable than we think. They’re also sociable and lovable. 

After all, she traveled to space with two dogs in a small spacecraft, and none of the animals were hurt or injured.

Now you know that your floppy-eared friend would fly to the moon and back for you.

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