The first Earth to be sent into outer space

The Cold War era brought about one of the greatest races in human history, the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. The goal of the race was for the first country to reach the Moon which ended up being the United States, but in the early days, the Soviet Union was in the lead by sending the first life into space.

dog and mission

Found on the streets of Moscow, Laika, the dog without a master, it fulfilled all the criteria of an ideal candidate for a cosmonaut. At that time, scientists from the Soviet Union were looking for a lively and docile mammal. In addition, Laika was chosen because she also showed creativity. It is said that she has always had a “curious look”. The puppy was trained along with other dogs and selected to take the available place on Sputnik 2, a satellite that was not designed to return.

Initially called Kudeavrka, meaning “little creation,” Laika was “baptized” after the Russian term for the verb.

Sputnik 2 missile preparing for launch (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Soviet Union did not take into account the moral implications of this mission, particularly due to the fact that this was racist in political ramifications during the Cold War, everyone in the Soviet Union supported Laika and its mission. However, internationally, there were protests against violence against animals when the Soviet Union announced that the mission would be completed and a dog was sent to certain death.

The protests took place in front of the embassies of the USSR in the territory of other countries, but not on the territory of the USSR or other countries under the control of Soviet communism. During that time, Soviet radio stations reported to residents that Laika was in very good health while preparing for the big day.

Laika preparations

Leica was trained before the launch was planned, as it was placed in a centrifuge that simulated the acceleration of a missile, as well as the noise it made. During these exercises, her pulse doubled and her blood pressure increased significantly. At the time of acceleration of the spacecraft, her heart rate reached 240 beats / min, and her breathing increased three to four times, compared to the usual rhythm presented.

Leica is in testing before launch (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Laica’s mission in space was planned for ten days, but it only survived two days. Onboard telemetry provided scientists with the first details and data about the behavior of an organism orbiting in space. She was restless all the time, except when she was breastfeeding.

For many years, Moscow claimed that Laika was poisoned with a substance in the food she received so that she would not suffer a painful death and to appease public opinion. The reaction of the Soviets came only after the fall of the communist bloc when some of the scientists who had been involved in sending Laica into space expressed their regret. Although some say that Laica’s sacrifices provided the Soviet space agency with great efforts within the space world.

Soviet character with Laika (Source: Collectors Weekly)

Interestingly, many countries under the influence of the Soviet Union applied stamps with Laika to show their appreciation for the sacrifice.

Around Sputnik 2, it is known that it disintegrated in the atmosphere on April 14, 1958, when the pup on board died about 5 months ago. August 16, 1960 marks a date that marks an important event with a happy ending: two puppies are sent into space to life on Earth. This was the moment that opened the way for space flight from April 12, 1961 by Yuri Gagarin.

Soviet hero

Leica before launch (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Laika is much more than a Soviet hero, it is another sacrifice for the evolution of this world.

Laika was the first extraterrestrial being. Due to the fact that Sputnik 2 was not designed to return Laika to Earth, it died within days. What scientists did not take into account was the fact that after the first orbit around the Earth, the temperature inside the capsule would rise to more than 40 degrees Celsius, and Laika died unexpectedly.

The Cold War already brought high tensions to the world as it spurred nations toward one of the greatest innovations in contemporary modern technology. Many years have passed and we have come to a period where we have not been able to keep up with technology because it is developing faster than ever. We should be thankful for all the sacrifices that were made to get to this point in time, and be grateful for this Soviet hero.

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