Congolese Entrepreneur Cancels Plans to Launch Guinea Pig Into Space After PETA Plea, Wins Award

For Immediate Release:
August 10, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo – The guinea pig named Galaxionaut will remain on the ground when Swiss-backed Congolese space exploration enterprise Développement Tous Azimuts (DTA) launches its Troposphere 6 rocket. The decision follows a letter from PETA and its affiliate PETA Switzerland to Jean-Patrice Keka Ohemba Okese, founder of DTA, urging him to cancel plans to send the small animal into space. In gratitude, PETA is awarding Keka, who also agreed to ban all space experiments on animals, with its 2021 Lifesaver Award.

Keka wrote the following to PETA:

Having followed your relevant arguments with interest, I take the firm resolution and commitment to decree a total ban on the use of animals in DTA’s space experiments, and alongside this, we are abandoning our plan to have Galaxionaut on board this launch by confirming to you that he will be immediately returned to his natural environment. Instead, the Mpongo capsule (vessel) will be fitted with various sensors, which is an alternative method to achieve the same result without the use of animals.

“Mr. Keka acted quickly and decisively to spare a vulnerable guinea pig a terrifying, confusing, and potentially deadly trip into space,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “Animals aren’t astronauts, and PETA is honoring Développement Tous Azimuts for jumping light years ahead into the human-only space race.”

Following vigorous PETA campaigns, NASA and the European Space Agency—which represents Switzerland among its 22 member states—ended space experiments on monkeys, and the agencies have acknowledged that results from these experiments were not relevant to human astronauts.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind