Kuiper gazes up at the Milky Way. He is wearing an American flag collar.

Remembering Laika

“We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog.” Oleg Gazenko, Soviet scientist, 1998 ?

Kuiper looks up thoughtfully at the Milky Way on the 60th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 2. ? In the background burns the Milli wildfire in Central Oregon. Rocket Scientist John & I took this shot in a single exposure with Kuiper in a stay.

On this day in 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first living creature into orbit (~10 dogs had previously gone to space on suborbital flights.) When I visited the @kscosmosphere this summer, I saw an engineering model (exact copy used for testing.) Swipe for pics.

Sputnik 2 was hastily constructed within a month of Sputnik 1’s launch. After seeing the public’s response to Sputnik 1, Soviet leader Khrushchev ordered the space program to come up with “something new” in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Due to the time crunch, there was no quality control?, & they didn’t want to take the time to design a re-entry system. ? The dog was not expected to survive longer than a week. ? Unfortunately, due to a failure in the cooling system (as well as insulation tearing loose), she overheated within a few hours of entering orbit? The Soviets denied this fact publicly for decades.?

Laika (“Barker”) was a 13 lb (~6 kg) stray dog from the streets of Moscow, chosen only 9 days before flight. Shortly before launch, scientist Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky took her home to play with his children. He wrote, “Laika was quiet and charming. I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live.” #imnotcryingyourecrying ?

Sputnik 5 dogs Belka and Strelka were recovered successfully. One of Strelka’s puppies was given to JFK and named Pushinka (“Fluffy.”) According to Caroline Kennedy, “[Mom] was sitting next to Khrushchev at a state dinner in Vienna. She ran out of things to talk about, so she asked about the dog, Strelka, that the Russians had shot into space. During the conversation, my mother asked about Strelka’s puppies…A few months later, a puppy arrived and my father had no idea where the dog came from and couldn’t believe my mother had done that.”

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BbDjl6KAlQp/

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