Travel to Space Laika Boss
All our pets are special in their own right, but few can boast leaving a lasting mark on human history. In this category of animal celebrity we have Laika, the Soviet space dog and first living creature to orbit the Earth.
Laika, along with two other canine cosmonauts, spent 20 days training leading up to the launch of Sputnik 2. Training included sleeping in increasingly smaller cages to adapt to the confines of her tiny space cabin, undergoing simulations in centrifuges to acclimate to the acceleration of a rocket launch, and adjusting her eating habits to consume a high-nutrition gel that would be her food in space.
At the time of Laika’s mission in November of 1957, little was known about how living creatures would respond to the conditions of space flight. Nothing had been developed regarding de-orbiting. In sum, no one expected Laika to return from her space adventure aboard the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2. Although Soviet scientists reported that her death came peacefully and painlessly roughly five to seven hours into flight, the true story of Laika’s historic flight came in 2002 when Dr. Dimitri Malashenkov revealed that Laika had died by the fourth orbit from overheating and excessive stress.
Without going into the controversy of the Soviet scientists' use of Laika, it's undeniable that the science of space travel as a whole benefitted a lot from the courageous pup that paved the way for human space travel. Her sacrifice and contributions have been commemorated in a statue located in Moscow, and also earned her a permanent place in history (You can also catch another notable nod to Laika in the Arcade Fire song “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)”).