Saturday Scenes

Fri 9 November 2012

Dogs in Space

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 14:53

On the 3rd of November in 1957, Laika became the first earthling to orbit a planet.

Laika was a stray dog, a mongrel bitch around three years old when she was projected into space in the Sputnik II. Soviet scientists used Moscow strays for their testing as they felt that the animals had already learned to endure extreme conditions of cold and hunger.

Three dogs were trained, with a view to discover the effects of launch and orbit, which some scientists believed was not survivable.

Moscow Animals – devoted to the welfare of homeless animals

Laika, which means “barker” in Russian, was a stray from the streets of Moscow. She had been rounded up with dozens of other stray dogs and kept at the space research centre in Moscow. The dogs underwent a variety of tests and training to assess their suitability for the demands of space flight. These included weeks of confinement in small cages to accustom the dogs to the limited space available within the capsule, and being harnessed inside a flight simulator while being subjected to the noise, vibration and G-forces that would be experienced during the launch period and the flight. Laika was eventually selected as the most suitable candidate, with a dog called Albina as her understudy. The general assessment system devised for the dogs at that time was later used for the cosmonauts who were to follow Laika into space.

That day, Laika also became the first Earth animal to die in orbit. Although she died on the first day, the Soviet Government originally covered up her death. First, they claimed that she was euthanised shortly before the oxygen ran out on day six. Later they stated she died as a result of oxygen depletion. It was not until 2002 that the public discovered that she died within hours of the launch from overheating.

In 2008, a monument was erected in honour of Laika. It features a dog standing on top of a rocket.

And on the 3rd of November in 2012, the following photographs sky-rocketed to fame when they were posted to Saturday Scenes:

And here are the demanding photographers who took them!

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I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

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