Stlitz Homelifts is helping to train a four-legged astronaut ahead of his first mission to the International Space Station.
A through-floor domestic passenger lift from the company has been installed at the European Astronaut Centre to teach the dog, aptly named Apollo, self-navigation and decision making.
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With the ability to ‘lift off’ and ‘land’ on his own, the canine is now developing his skills for experiments in orbit to help scientists find out how zero gravity affects animals, both physically and cognitively.
Training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Texas will be next – in preparation for the first-ever space dog walk.
Yola Mealing, Head of Marketing and spokesperson at Stiltz Homelifts said: “The Stiltz Directors and staff are all really excited that our homelift product is being used in such a groundbreaking and high profile project.”
Apollo beat over 4,000 applicants to take the first canine place in the modern era of ESA astronaut training. The selection process included taking tests to assess intelligence, obedience and fitness.
Short-haired pointer Apollo will be the first dog to reach orbit since 1957, when Soviet mongrel Laika launched in Sputnik 2.