Ivan Ivanovich was made to look as lifelike as possible, with eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, and a mouth. He was dressed in a cosmonaut suit and strongly resembled a dead person due to the effect later named uncanny valley. For this reason a sign reading "МАКЕТ" (Russian for "dummy") was placed under his visor so that anyone who found him after his missions would not think he was a dead cosmonaut or an alien.
Ivan first flew into space on Korabl-Sputnik 4 on 9 March 1961, accompanied by a dog named Chernushka, various reptiles, and 80 mice and guinea pigs, some of which were placed inside his body. To test the spacecraft's communication systems, an automatic recording of a choir was placed in Ivan's body - this way, any radio stations who heard the recording would understand it was not a real person. Ivan was also used to test the landing system upon return to Earth, when he was successfully ejected from the capsule and parachuted to the ground.
His second space flight, Korabl-Sputnik 5, on 26 March 1961, was similar - he was again accompanied by a dog, Zvyozdochka, and other animals, he had a recording of a choir (and also a recipe for cabbage soup to confuse any listeners) inside him, and he safely returned to Earth. These flights paved the way for Vostok 1, the first manned flight into space on 12 April 1961.
In 1993, Ivan was auctioned at Sotheby's, with the winning bid coming from a foundation belonging to US businessman Ross Perot. He fetched $189,500. Since 1997, he has been on loan to the National Air and Space Museum, where he was on display, still in his spacesuit, until 2017 when he was moved back into the private collection of Ross Perot.