was a dog
who was launched into orbit
with Sputnik II
, of the Sputnik program
, on November 3 1957
from Baikonur Cosmodrome
, making her the first living passenger to orbit Earth
(she is usually remembered as the first animal
in space, but this is not correct; both the Soviet Union
and United States
had launched animals to space before Sputnik II, but they were not orbital flights.)
Sputnik II was not designed to be retrievable and it was destroyed on re-entry on May 14 1958, but Laika had already died before that; it had been planned that she would be euthanized with a poisoned serving of food; in 1999 several Russian sources said that Laika died after four days when the cabin overheated. In October 2002, it was revealed by Russian sources that Laika was dead after a few hours from overheating and stress.
- David Whitehouse, First dog in space died within hours, BBC Online, Oct. 28, 2002
- Anatoly Zak, The True Story of Laika the Dog, www.space.com, Nov. 3, 1999
Laika is also the name of an English indie pop-rock group.