Ground-bound animals have been going airborne since 1783, when Frenchmen Joseph and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier launched a hot air balloon with a sheep, a duck and a rooster aboard. The cock died from a broken neck on landing, but the other animals survived, proving: (1) that it was indeed possible to breathe while traversing the skies, and (2) that the circumstances attendant to one's return to terra firma counts for a lot. Only after the animals alighted did King Louis XVI permit humans ...

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