Since the early days of space exploration scientist tried to study strange effects that happened high above earth orbit and predict how will human body react to them. The best way to test those conditions was with sending unmanned missions witch carried both electronic equipment and animal life.
In the late 1940’s United States launched the first animal mission to space. Carried by the V2 rocket in 1947 compartment with fruit flies and corn seeds successfully went to high earth orbit and measured influence of high space radiation to living tissue. Soon after US started to experiment with various missions with monkeys, witch culminated in 1961 Ham mission witch cleared the way for Alan Shepard and his first manned space flight. Another notable 1960s US space mission was Biosatellite flights 1-3 witch carried wide variety of animal and plant life. In 1990s US Space shuttle mission carried animals on almost every flight to space, tradition that is maintained even today on the International Space Station.
Russian scientist focused themselves on dogs, most successfully mongrel dog Laika witch was launched to the earths orbit in 1957. Laika died after the first few hours into the mission, contrary to the official report from Moscow in witch Laika lived few days until she ran out of the provisions and heat. Beside dogs Russian launched mice, guinepigs, frogs and tortoise (who set the record of 90 days spent in space in 1975). During 80s and 90s 12 Russian monkeys were sent to space in Bion capsules.
Four other countries also managed to send animals in space. France sent two rats and two cats, China launched mices, rats and two dogs in 1960s, Japanese journalist Toyohiro Akiyama carried frogs to Russian Mir station in 1900 and in 2010 Iran successfully launched and landed one mouse, two turtles and worms with their Kavoshgar 3 rocket.
Over 60 years of space animal testing greatly improved our knowledge of the universe and reduced human injuries and loss of life.