She was the first earthling in space, and now Laika the Russian street stray is immortalized in bronze, 50 years after her historic, sacrificial flight.
Officials unveiled the monument on April 11 in Moscow on the eve of Cosmonautics Day, which honors the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin. It’s about 6 feet tall and sports the 2-year-old mixed breed atop a rocket. It sits near the military research facility that prepared Laika’s flight.
In 1957, Laika became the first living creature to orbit the Earth, when Soviet scientists launched the small dog into orbit aboard a hastily built Sputnik II space capsule. She perished after only a few hours in orbit when the thermal control systems failed and the capsule overheated. In their haste to win the Space Race, the Russians had never designed for her return to Earth anyway.
Remember Laika as you watch this video tribute by Danish electronic musician, Anders Trentemøller. The haunting vocals are by Ane Trolle.
More on Laika at Red Star Cafe