There is a kind of new moon fever. Everyone is talking about the upcoming missions that will take astronauts into space. It would be good to remember that there have been some casualties on the long road to conquering outer space. Some of them had four legs. Like the famous Laika, the dog that died in space. The first living being to leave the earth.
It was more than 60 years ago. The Laika dog was launched on the Russian Sputnik 2 satellite on November 3, 1957. This four-legged pioneer did not return. In the following years 48 dogs, 15 monkeys and two rabbits went into space. Many of them died.
Russia was in a space race against the United States. “Conquering space” would be a sign of strength, technology and development. Khrushchev, the Russian leader, made huge amounts of resources available to space exploration. The engineer in charge of the space program was Sergey Korolev. He suggested sending a dog into space. There wasn’t enough technology to guarantee the satellite’s return. The animal would be sent to certain death.
The Soviet government released news that Laika had died painlessly after a week in orbit. Today it is known that the dog died six hours after the start. He went into cardiac arrest after the cabin overheated.
The selection of dogs that could be sent into the room followed a number of criteria. First, due to the size of the rocket, the animal could weigh a maximum of 7 kg. Stray dogs were recruited for the “cosmonaut dog group”. Laika was roaming the streets of Moscow when he was hired. After all, she was the one chosen to die in space and step into history.
Sputnik 2 was not technically developed for landing. It was a cylinder about four meters high and two meters in diameter.
Laika was in a capsule the size of a washing machine with a device for chemical regeneration of the air. A sensor was implanted in his ribs to measure his breathing and pulse.
During the start, the dog’s heart rate rose sharply. I was three times over the quiescent rate. The humidity and temperature of the capsule the dog was kept in increased shortly after the mission began. The temperature reached over 40 degrees Celsius. Six hours after the start, the sensors registered a cardiac arrest. It was clear that the dog had died.
The satellite with Laika’s body completed 2,370 laps in orbit. It finally burned upon entering the atmosphere on April 14, 1958.
Make up a story
The Soviet government withheld information about Laika’s death. For a week, local newspapers published newsletters on the health of the dog, which was actually dead. The information disclosed led the population to believe that Laika might return.
The international media admired the Soviet performance and expressed concern about the four-legged astronaut.
It was later reported that Laika was sacrificed in orbit “for the sake of humanity”. Hundreds of letters have been sent to Moscow and the United Nations denouncing the “cruelty” of the space program. However, the use of animals in space tests continued. The United States used overalls. In the Soviet Union, 48 dogs were brought into space between 1948 and 1961. And 20 of them died.
The first living things to parachute back to earth were the dogs Desik and Gypsy. It was a mission of the Soviet Union from 1951. In 1966 the Soviet Union sent the satellite Kosmos-110 with the dogs Vaterk and Ugolkom. Both returned alive after 23 days in orbit, albeit exhausted.
Sending animals into space began to stop with the launch of humans. Yuri Gagarin remembered the dog Laika, who died in space. He was the first man in space. He once said he was “the first person and the last dog in space” at the same time.