03 November, 2021

03 November, 1957

The first animal in space.


I have a soft spot for dogs. Call me a wimp, if you wish. I don’t like this story.

Russian dog Laika was sent up in the spaceship Sputnik II to orbit Earth on this day.

Laika was a stray that had been picked up on the streets of Moscow. At the time there was no technology – or plans – to bring her back to Earth.
One of the technicians preparing her capsule said that "after placing Laika in the container and before closing the hatch, we kissed her nose and wished her bon voyage, knowing that she would not survive the flight."


So what happened to Laika? Although Moscow long insisted that she expired painlessly after about a week in orbit, an official with the Institute for Biological Problems leaked the truth in 2002: Laika died from panic and overheating within hours of takeoff.
The spacecraft circled Earth every hour and 42 minutes, travelling at 18,000 mph. But after five to seven hours into the flight, all signs of life received from the spacecraft stopped.
Over five months later, after 2,570 orbits, Sputnik II—including Laika's remains—disintegrated during re-entry on April 14, 1958.

Salutes to the first animal in space. Depressed that they couldn’t bring her home.

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