The flight was a crowning triumph for the Soviet Union in the emerging space race with the United States. Just a month earlier, Moscow had successfully lifted Sputnik I, the world's first satellite, into orbit.
'Victory For Mankind'
Oleg Mukhin, the vice president of the Russian Federation of Astronautics, says November 3, 1957, was a victorious day for the USSR. "It was a victory for the whole country and a global achievement," he says. "It symbolized mankind's science, it was a victory for mankind. Of course, we are proud that our country took these first, great steps into the cosmos."
But amid the cheering, one man was grieving for the ill-fated dog. Oleg Gazenko, the director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems, was responsible for training Laika. He knew the Sputnik II aircraft that would take the dog to space did not have the technology necessary to return her safely to Earth.
"Newspapers, radio, and television were ecstatic," Gazenko says. "But I must admit that my heart was very heavy. Firstly, I understood that the animal would not be able to come back to Earth. Secondly, I knew that the temperature in the rocket's cabin gradually rose during the first hours. I guessed that the dog was dead."
Soviet scientists originally planned for Laika to spend seven days in orbit before being euthanized. But due to a malfunction in the thermal-control system, Laika died of stress and heat exhaustion within hours of the launch.
Five months and 2,570 orbits later, in April 1958, her capsule burned up upon reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Ahead of the Sputnik II mission, several dogs had been flown to the stratosphere on a rocket and parachuted back to Earth. But for the first space flight, Gazenko picked Laika from a pool of three canines selected for the experiment. He describes Laika as a friendly, endearing dog.
Gazenko says Laika's six-month training was intense. "She had to be trained to sit still in a small cubicle, to eat gel-like food dispensed by a small machine, to get used to the stress and irritating aspects of space flight," Gazenko says. "We accustomed her to the sound of rocket engines and spun her in a centrifuge."
The mutt was also trained to wear a spacesuit dotted with sensors to monitor her heartbeat, blood pressure, and breathing.
Despite Laika's ordeal, the mission was deemed a success. By proving that a mammal could survive liftoff and weightlessness, Laika paved the way for manned flights to outer space.
In April 1961, the world's first cosmonaut, the Soviet Union's Yury Gagarin, blasted into space.
State Secret Revealed
The circumstances surrounding Laika's death remained a state secret for 45 years. To soothe outraged animal lovers around the globe, Soviet officials insisted the four-legged cosmonaut had died peacefully after a week in space, by eating a specially planned toxic substance that mission organizers said would allow for a painless euthanasia.
The truth was revealed only in 2002 by Dmitry Malachenkov, a scientist who had worked on the Sputnik II mission.
To this day, the 88-year-old Gazenko says he is regularly gripped by remorse over Laika's death. But perishing in space, he says, was Laika's fate.
"Unfortunately, the mission was necessary," he says. "Before Laika's flight, we were able study the effects of weightlessness for just a few minutes. Laika's flight showed that the path to space was open for the Earth's living beings."
Link: http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/20 ... 7fb2b.html
Quote:Gazenko says Laika's six-month training was intense. "She had to be trained to sit still in a small cubicle, to eat gel-like food dispensed by a small machine, to get used to the stress and irritating aspects of space flight," Gazenko says. "We accustomed her to the sound of rocket engines and spun her in a centrifuge."
PeTA Wouldn't like that, but I'm sure Laika knew that it was for the motherland and without her selfless sacrifice, The USSR wouldn't be the same, and no one would be controlling the tinfoil hats.
PETA is an organ of the capitalist pigs of the West. I agree that Laika truly understood the duty to the Motherland as of the highest calling!
Considering Laika's gender and canine condition, should the Party not refer to her as the People's Bitch? Using an individual's name is so--how can I say?--individualistic. It could inspire other dogs to otuperform their fellow dogs, thus threatening social justice and equality.
Therein lies the paradox and mystery beating at the crimson heart of our cause. We must all perform our absolute best while striving for the same end, equality.
I do not need to look to my left or to my right, I know that my faithful comrades are struggling [an exertive amount proportional to my own efforts compared to my capacity, which is not truly mine, but all of ours].
I thought that the title "The People's Bitch" was currently being contested by two prominent Party members, one in the Senate and one who Speaks in the House?
The false report of Laika's death was planted by capitalist revisionists. Laika still lives. The miracle of Socialized medicine and socialized vetinary medicine had kept the great canine, socialist hero alive all these years. He is in a large air-conditioned pen in the People Vetinarian office in Moscow.
True....he has lost his teeth, he cannot hear nor walk, and he is full of tubes and has had 14 heart transplants, but he still wags his tail at the sound of our glorious socialistic marching music. He cannot stand but he is on a soft bed and is fed intraveinously.
Laika is is not in space at this time but another capsule is being readied for him and his life-support equipment and he will be fired into space in April as soon as he is stabilized. THe communist International has decreed that Laika be saved at all cost. Even though the dog actually mouthed the words..."kill me"...we will allow him to live for the joy and the future of socialist around the world.
It is sad but true that Laika has always been a male. The dog was touted as a female to show the imperialists that the we socialists do not discriminate and have always been for the equality of both genders. Laika was our second best candidate to go into space at the time.
We had a female dog lined up ahead of him but cosmonaut comrade Imadorkavich fell in love with it and brought it to his apartment. He had actually had relations with it and she was no good after that. (Imadorkavich was weird in that way....but...since he was a third cousin to Lenin we put up with his shortcomings).
Since Pravada and Izvetsia had already printed the space dog would be female we had to keep with that scenario. We were sure Imadorkavich would not fool with this dog. Ima is into bestiality but he is not a homosexual.
There ....you have the whole sad story. We, of course, could not tell the world of this sad event. If we had the imperialist west would have had a field day and a propaganda coup.
We know that this decadence by one of our top cosmonauts was caused by the infection of capitalism that he was exposed to when on a propaganda trip to the US with other cosmonauts.
As far as the world knows...Laika is female. We comrades know the truth. Of course,..now....Laika is so ancient that his/her genitals have fallen off and there is no need to bother with addressing the problem.
The speculation that Laika Space Dog is now nearly incapacitated is also false. Upon his return to Earth he received the same treatments I received from my personal physician Dr. Frank. These treatments were later augmented by the finest Experimental Soviet Medicine available. Net result of those treatments is that the aging process is almost completely halted. I should know, I just celebrated my 141st birthday last year, but I do not look a day over 50.