Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA announced today that the next SpaceX mission to the Space Station will include, as passengers, two canines who will officially be referred to as "Astromutts". The breeds have not been chosen, but NASA has ruled out St. Bernards and other large breeds.
At the request of the Humane Society, NASA has agreed that at least one of the four-legged riders be a rescued pet, selected from an animal shelter, to encourage adoption of those incarcerated there.
NASA admits there is no scientific intent in sending dogs into space other than companionship for the astronauts, especially on their space walks. One of the principal complaints from the Space Station has been the loneliness of those solitary walks. NASA will provide a portable fireplug and the astronauts will be equipped with dog poop bags to prevent the debris from hitting an orbiting satellite.
These will not be the first animals in space. A monkey orbited in the 1950s, and Pluto has been there for eons.