Politics & Society

The Sad, Sad Story of Laika, the Space Dog

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On this day, Nov. 3, in 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first-ever living animal into orbit: a dog named Laika
Before the space program, Laika had no home. She was a mongrel dog, found wandering the streets of Moscow
She was promoted to cosmonaut based partly on her size (small) and demeanor (calm)
Laika’s mission on board Sputnik 2 stunned the world
The Sputnik satellite carrying Laika blasted off on a rocket at 5.30 am Moscow time from Kazakhstan,
where the Soviet Union would later base its Baikonur cosmodrome.
Then suddenly during the ninth orbit of the Earth,
the temperature inside the capsule began to soar and reached over 40 degrees celsius
The hope was that Laika would stay alive for eight to 10 days,
but instead she died from overheating and dehydration after a few hours.
After five to seven hours into the flight,
no lifesigns were being received from Laika.
Laika had died from overheating and stress.

Laika’s “coffin” circled the Earth 2,570 times and burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere on 4 April 1958.


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