Author: Ashlan Brantley
It was November 3, 1957 and Laika, the dog to be the first in space, was launched into our universe aboard Sputnik-2. This satellite was making history, however, she wasn’t the first animal in space. She was used to test the safety of having organisms in space. The Soviet Union launched Laika, who orbited the earth, to pull ahead of the United States in the space race. Her story is fascinating and incredibly revolutionary.
Originally, Laika was just a stray dog living on the streets of Moscow. She was young, mostly Siberian Husky. Later on in her life, she was rescued. Scientists assumed that stray dogs were already used to harsh, cold temperatures and starvation or hunger. Along with Laika, two other dogs were trained for space travel. By being put in small cages and being fed gel (their food in space), the dogs were slowly training for their missions. Unfortunately, Laika’s mission was fatal. A re-entry strategy could not be worked out. Sadly, Sputnik-2’s cooling system gave out, and Laika died of overheating. The satellite burned in 1958, and all the remains fell back to Earth. Laika’s remains were never recovered, but many statues were built in her honor.
Reporters in America called her Muttnik, as a pun on Sputnik. Before her launching, Laika’s name was Kudryavka, or "Little Curly." Internationally she became known as Laika, the Russian word for a dog breed quite like a Husky. Laika is a hero, even today. She went from being a street mutt to the first dog in space. Her story is amazing, and I hope you are in awe.
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