Friday, July 17, 2009
Fifty two years ago a sweet little puppy named Laika went from stray dog to a national hero when the Soviet Union strapped her into Sputnik 2 and launched her into outer space.
Just last April 11th, 2008, Laika finally got some well deserved recognition. On the eve of Cosmonauts' Day, marking Soviet pilot Yuri Gagarin's April 12, 1961 space flight, a monument to Laika was officially unveiled near Moskow's Military Medicine Institute, the same place her flight team prepared for her original, fateful space mission in 1957.
Like all dogs used in the Soviet space program, Laika was a stray. Strays were chosen because Soviet doctors apparently believed the mean streets of Moscow were similar to conditions experienced in space. Small dogs were selected due to the size constraints of the Sputnik 2 capsule.
"Laika was quiet and charming," Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky wrote in his book about Soviet space medicine. He even took the dog home to play with his children. "I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live," he said.
Here's to all Astronauts - God Speed!
And you've got to check out this nice flickr set dedicated to: Laika, my favorite Space Puppy.
Thanks to Reuters