Sputnik-2 or: Laika, Our Hero

Sputnik-2 or: Laika, Our Hero

Sputnik-2 or: Laika, Our Hero

 

In 1957, a Soviet street dog named Laika launched into space aboard Sputnik-2 and became the first animal to orbit the Earth. This is her story.

When the international press reported that the Soviets sent a dog into orbit, the public freaked. Not because communism was beating democracy in the space race, but because how could anyone send a dog—alone—into space. If there’s one global commonality, it’s this: everyone loves dogs. So, the Soviets spun the story. Laika, the space dog, became a national hero. Yes, she died on her one way mission. But, she gloriously orbited Earth for over a week until her eventual, peaceful death. And, because of Laika’s sacrifice, the Soviet space program was now years ahead of the Americans…

But, none of that was true.

Based on declassified Soviet space program documents as well as primary source archive from back in the day, this is a revised version of Laika’s one way trip. In her words. That is, approximately her words. She was a dog, after all.

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VIDEO BY
TOM McNAMARA

VOICE OF LAIKA
ELENA V. LEVENSON

ARCHIVE
GETTY
NASA

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POPULAR SCIENCE // popsci.com

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