Russian Dogs in Space
Laika was a space pioneer. The first ever living creature launched into space, Laika was carried into space on board the Russian satellite, Sputnik 2, on November 3rd, 1957, thirty days after the first successful satellite launch of Sputnik 1.
Bars and Lisichka, never made it to space. If they had, they might have made history as the first dogs to make a successful re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Unfortunately, on July 28, 1960, during a test flight, one of the boosters on the test craft exploded, and both dogs were killed.
History's first successful attempt to launch an animal and have it re-enter the atmosphere alive. Strelka and Belka were launched into orbit on August 19, 1960, along with their co-habitants of forty mice, two rats and a variety of live plants. They spent one day in space, and were later retrieved from Sputnik 5 in full health after a landing back on earth. One of Strelka's six puppies was later given to U.S. President, John F. Kennedy as a gift.
December 1, 1960, Russia attempted it's third launch of dogs. While the launching and orbitting for a day were successful, Dogs Pchelka and Mushka were killed when Sputnik 6 reentered the atmosphere at too steep of an angle and was destroyed on impact.
Another Sputnik was sent off, carrying two more dogs, Krasavka and Damka, just 21 days after the destruction of Sputnik 6. This launch was aborted after the booster's upper rocket stage failed, and both dogs were safely recovered.
Sputnik 9 carried the dog, Chernushka on a single-orbit mission on March 9, 1961. Chernushka shared the satellite with more mice and a guinea pig. These animals were also recovered safely from reentry.
On March 25, 1961, Sputnik was sent into a single-orbit mission, carrying Zvezdochka, and her flight companion, a wooden mannequin. This was the final test flight of the Vostok capsule. With it's successful re-entry, Yuri Gagarin followed to become the first man in space.
The canine spaceflight record that still stands today is held by dogs Ugolek and Veterok. They orbitted the earth for an astounding twenty-two days in the biosatellite Kosmos 110. Launched into orbit on February 22, 1966, and recovered March 16, 1966, their record stood unsurpassed even by humans until Skylab 2 launched in June of 1974.
Space / Astronomy Astrology
Dogs in Space - Fiction for the Young Reader