From time to time we hear of man’s triumph in exploring space and how that feat was accomplished. But have you ever heard the story of the first dog to enter into space and orbit the earth?  In November of 1957, a dog named Laika became to first living creature to orbit the earth.

Laika’s voyage into Earth’s orbit was a landmark moment in human history. It was this mission that paved the way for some of man’s greatest achievements in space exploration. Here are some of the facts:

  • Laika was a stray mongrel dog found on the streets of Moscow.
  • Scientists felt using a stray Mutt would prove to be more successful since they are used to harsh conditions (extreme cold and hunger).
  • The Soviets chose a dog over other groups of animals because they found dogs easier to train.
  • Laika wasn’t going to come back-The satellite they’d built wasn’t equipped for a safe reentry. They knew that she would not survive the trip home. The plan was that Laika would spend a few days in orbit above the Earth. Then, she would be euthanized with poison in her dog food.
  • Laika died 5 to 7 hours into the flight from overheating and stress.
  • The  information provided from this mission proved that a living organism could tolerate a long time in weightlessness
  • On 11 April 2008, Russian officials unveiled a monument to Laika. A small monument in her honour was built near the military research facility in Moscow that prepared Laika’s flight to space. It portrayed a dog standing on top of a rocket. She also appears on the Monument to the Conquerors of Space in Moscow.

Even though Laika survived for only a few hours, lessons learned from her journey into space paved the way for the future of space travel. Less than 4 years after her launch, Yuri Gagarin a Soviet Air Forces pilot would become the first man in space, and he would come home safely.

Image Credit: