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Maybe she’s the most famous female dog in history. Laika was put into orbit on November 3, 1957 by the USSR, during the Cold War. It was the beginning of the space race and the goal that the Soviets scored at the Americans, who nevertheless ended up winning the game by getting the man to step on the moon barely twelve years later, specifically on July 21, 1969.
Just a few days before the launch of Sputnik 2, Laika, a street dog, was picked up on the streets of Moscow by the team of the project. The objective was to study the effect of space flights on living beings. Laika was chosen due to its calm mood and its weight and size, since the space booths were very small.
What many people today do not know is that Laika never came back. Laika’s trip was, from the beginning, a trip without return, since the spacecraft was not expected to return. For years it has been thought that the dog died after six days, when the ship’s oxygen ran out. To soften this fact, for some time the Soviet government circulated a rumor where it was said that the dog had been euthanized from distance, in order to provide a sweet death in the proximity of the lack of oxygen.
The truth was not known until 2002. The truth is that the dog Laika died just a few hours after taking off due to the overheating of the ship, in circumstances of nervousness, panic and shock, which could help accelerate its end.
The Sputnik 2 continued circling Earth for five more months with the remains of Laika. On the return trip the ship got carbonized as soon as it came into contact with the atmosphere.