Apr 12, 2008

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Remembering Laika: Laika the space dog gets a statue

My favorite space dog Laika now has a statue in Moscow!

The monument was unveiled on the eve of Cosmonauts’ Day, marking Soviet pilot Yuri Gagarin’s April 12, 1961 space flight.




At one time a stray wandering the streets of Moscow, she was selected from an animal shelter. Originally named Kudryavka (literally: “Little Curly-Haired One”), she was renamed Laika.

After undergoing training with two other dogs, she was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 and was launched into space on November 3, 1957.

Laika wasn’t the first animal sent in to space (fruit flies were the first), but she was the most recognizable one.

Russian authorities had previously circulated reports that Laika survived in orbit for four days and then died when the cabin overheated due to a battery malfunction.

In reality, medical sensors recorded that immediately after the launch, as her capsule reached speeds of nearly 18,000 miles per hour (28,800km/h), her pulse rate increased to three times its normal level, presumably due to overheating, fear and stress. Five to seven hours into the flight, no further life signs were received from Laika.

Between 1957 and 1966, a total of 13 dogs were used in Soviet space flights, many of whom were recovered unharmed. Laika was the only one Russian scientists knowingly sent into space to die

I have some sentimental attachment to Laika; my wife had a dog named Laika when she was growing up and I have seen pictures of her frolicking around.

What they say is true – dog is man’s best friend.


Talk Like a Physicist

  1. awesome

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