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Laika the Space Dog

History Lesson: Laika, The Space Dog

There are plenty of recognizable dogs in history, but did you know the first animal in space was a stray dog? In 1957, a stray pooch found wandering the streets of Moscow was launched into space aboard the Sputnik II, as the first living creature to enter orbit. Laika may not be as well known as the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, but she was a hero during the time of the Russian/American space war and paved the way for human space flight. At only three years old, Laika was trained to handle space flight and conditions, just like regular astronauts.

Laika's place in history was solidified even more when she became a pop culture figure, with her name and likeness being used in movies, literature, and songs written about the heroic space dog. It just goes to show, never cast away a stray - they may do great things!

Do you know any other famous animals in history?


Join The Conversation
calamari calamari 9 years
I just read that a statue has been erected for Laika outside the Military Medicine Institute in Moscow.
Jessie-M Jessie-M 9 years
I wouldn't call her heroic-the poor girl had no choice but to be thrust into a scary environment where she eventually died alone. She didn't bravely save her owner's life, or heroically warn people about danger-she was unlucky enough to be picked up by horrible people who fed her, let her feel loved, then be completely abandoned and sent off to die a long drawn-out death without the only owners she ever knew. This is a horrible story of people sacrificing a dog for their own good-it was not the dog's choice at all.
Skinny1 Skinny1 9 years
Laika died from overheating and stress.
calamari calamari 9 years
There was a really cool Microsoft Zune ad which featured a fairy tale version of the Laika story. The ad always gets me a little teary eyed.
ElleJay ElleJay 9 years
what the... they sent her up there and didn't feed her or anything? that's not cool. Poor puppy
tralalala tralalala 9 years
Yeah, I love how the part where she was left in space to starve to death/suffocate was left out....
bellydancinmary bellydancinmary 9 years
Sergeant Stubby, America's first and most decorated war dog. He saved many soldiers in WWI, and to add to that, he was a pitbull.
Frenched Frenched 9 years
Poor Laika. I love her story, particularly because I grew up listening to this song called "Laika" written about her from this Spanish group named Mecano :)
eightieslingo eightieslingo 9 years
Too bad Laika died in space. I don't know if it was right to send her up there even if she did pave the way for humans.
eruntale eruntale 9 years
Well, there are the doves that were heroes of war in WWI and WW2, and many other dogs.
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