The first animals sent into space were fruit flies aboard a U.S.-launched V-2 rocket on February 20, 1947. The purpose of the experiment was to explore the effects of radiation exposure at high altitudes. The rocket reached 68 miles (109 km) in 3 minutes and 10 seconds, past both the U.S. 50-mile a The Blossom capsule was ejected and successfully deployed its parachute. The fruit flies were recovered alive. Other V2 missions carried biological samples, including moss.