On This Day In Space: Nov. 3, 1957: Laika the dog launches with Sputnik 2 (Image Credit: Space.com)
On Nov. 3, 1957, a Soviet space dog named Laika became the first animal to orbit Earth. Laika was a 3-year-old stray husky-spitz mix from the streets of Moscow, and she was recruited by the Soviet space program for her small size and calm temperament.
Unfortunately for Laika, this mission was a one-way trip. The Soviets didn’t design a way to bring her back down to Earth.
With only seven days worth of oxygen and a little bit of food on board, Laika launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a Russian Sputnik rocket. This was the same kind of rocket used to launch the first Sputnik satellite.
Laika was alive when she reached orbit, but she died shortly afterward because the spacecraft’s heat shield had broken off. Laika overheated before she had the chance to die of starvation of oxygen deprivation.
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