Unfortunately, loss of the heat shield made the temperature in the capsule rise unexpectedly, taking its toll on Laika. The doctors also checked their reactions to changes in air pressure and to loud noises that would accompany liftoff. Hi! With your right palm open, show your dog … It took three times longer than after a centrifuge ride on the ground to return Laika's heartbeat to pre-launch values, an indication of the stress she was suffering.

Laika’s cultural impact has been spread across the years since her death.

Soon after the flight, the Soviet mint created an enamel pin to celebrate “The First Passenger in Space.” Soviet allies, such as Romania, Albania, Poland and North Korea, issued Laika stamps over the years between 1957 and 1987. The humane use of animal testing spaceflight was essential to preparation for manned spaceflight, Lewis believes. “There’s really no expectation that she made it beyond an orbit or two after that.” Without its passenger, Sputnik 2 continued to orbit for five months. Laika was not the first space dog: Some had soared in the Soviet military’s sub-orbital rocket tests of updated German V-2 rockets after World War II, and they had returned to Earth via parachuted craft—alive or dead. An astonished world witnessed the launch of Sputnik 2 weighing 113 kg (250 lbs) and carrying the first living thing to go into orbit - the dog Laika.

Soviet engineers planned Sputnik 2 hastily after Premier Nikita Khrushchev requested a flight to coincide with November 7, 1957, the 40th anniversary of Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution.

Also, stray dogs were plentiful in the streets of the Soviet Union—easy to find and unlikely to be missed.

A veteran newspaper editor, she is recently the author of The Last American Hero: The Remarkable Life of John Glenn and has authored or co-authored seven other books, focusing on 20th-century American history or Philadelphia history.

She reached orbit alive, circling the Earth in about 103 minutes. Laika's "coffin" circled the Earth 2,570 times and burned up in the Earth's atmosphere on 4 April 1958. Others returned from orbit alive. She argues in Beastly Natures: Animals, Humans and the Study of History that the Soviet Union transformed Laika into “an enduring symbol of sacrifice and human achievement.”. But if a new leader (say a human one) were to come in and change the rule, then that would be okay. Despite surviving for just a few hours, Laika's place in space history is assured and the information she provided proved that a living organism could tolerate a long time in weightlessness and paved the way for humans in space.

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