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Laika, dog launched into space on stamp from Poșta Română, 1957

Laika, one of the Russian space dogs, was the first living passenger in orbit when she flew on Sputnik 2 (3 November 1957). No provisions were made for her return, and she died in orbit within hours from stress and overheating.


  • Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog.
    • Oleg Gazenko, one of the scientists who trained Laika (speaking in 1998).
  • Prayers were said for the dog and people were asked to observe a minute's silence each day with special thoughts for her early and safe return to Earth.
    • Daily Herald newspaper (November 1957)
  • That does not raise my apprehension, not one iota.
    • President Eisenhower's comments on the military significance of the Soviet Space Agency sending a living passenger into orbit. (3 November 1957)
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