Article written by: Phil Hall
Two weeks ago, a space-suited mannequin was strapped inside a cherry red car, the car was strapped inside a rocket, and the whole lot was launched into space. Although the shiny convertible might be the first of its kind in space, the mannequin, dubbed ‘Spaceman’, is most definitely not. That title belongs to a Russian-made dummy who left Earth’s atmosphere weeks before the first human.
Spaceman in space (SpaceX)
The dummy cosmonaut, nicknamed Ivan Ivanovich, was manufactured by the Moscow Prosthetic Appliances Works. To test the spacesuit and ejection processes that would be used in the first human spaceflight, he was rigged up with various sensors, as well as being filled with live mice and literal guinea pigs.
Ivan Ivanovich on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (SI 97-16252-3 / Owner: Smithsonian Institution / Source: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution / Photographer: Eric Long)
His first flight was on 9 March 1961. Before takeoff, he was dressed in a bright orange spacesuit and white helmet and secured in the ejector seat of the Korabl-Sputnik 4 spacecraft. After a successful launch and a single orbit around the ...