"Laika would have turned 60 if it was still alive."
Laika, a stray dog on the street of Moscow, was picked from the road and taken into an airconditioned room filled with giant machines. Laika most probably didn't know that she was going to become part of a historic event, and also the first ever living creature to orbit Earth in the space.
Laika briefly enjoyed her worldwide fame on November 3rd, 1957 when the world beckoned goodbye to her from the ground, while she proudly stood tall in the rocket cabin along with the faith that humans showed in Laika.
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When we launched Sputnik-2 into space almost 60 years ago, it was an age-defining moment in history. It was the second attempt of humans to launch a rocket into Earth's orbit, and the first time a living creature, stray dog Laika was on board.
Laika's last moments on Earth were spent in a Soviet rocket that awaited for the lift-off. The unfortunate mission resulted in overheating of the cabin as Laika died five hours into the flight.
There's also a movie on Laika, which released in the year 2010.
While this incident of sending a stray dog into space took place in the year 1957, it was almost a decade ago during the 1940s when scientists first started to employ animals for space explorations.
Russian and American scientists have quite a few times used animals to test their abilities to send any living creature into space and get them back safely.
Fruit flies, but that mission failed, and the spacecraft blasted at the altitude of 68 miles in Nazi V2 rocket in the year 1947.
NASA sent several monkeys named Albert I, II, III, IV by attaching a monitoring system to them; but all of them sadly passed away.
Yorick was accompanied by 11 mice when sent into space in 1951. This time, scientists were successful in launching a rocket carrying a monkey and get it safely returned back.
Both the mice were placed in a drum-like structure which allowed them to float quickly during the time of weightlessness.
Two stray dogs, Dezik and Tsygan, were launched into space, making them the first canine suborbital astronauts.
Laika, aka Muttnik was picked form the street and selected for this orbital mission.
Director of Leicester Institute of Space and Earth Observation, Martin says, "It harks back to a time when people knew very little about the space," reports Independent.
"Those nine orbits of Earth made Laika the world's first cosmonaut, sacrificed for the sake of the success of future space missions. We chose bitches because they don't have to raise a leg to urinate which means they need less space than the males," reports AFP news agency.
"Laika, the first animal to be launched into orbit, died from overheating and panic in the tiny spacecraft – all alone and in severe pain."
NASA shares that "without testing in the early days of space exploration, Soviet and American programmes could have suffered great losses of human life."
That's all, folks!