A Monument to Laika

Laika MonumentShe 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

Anders Trentemøller on MySpace

Ane Trolle on MySpace

Associated Press

Telstar Logistics

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4 responses to “A Monument to Laika

  1. That was such a disguting thing. Those scientists are incredibly cowardful. Why not to went there by themselves and die in the same way, burnt alive.

    Poor Laïka. Still loving you, never forgotten you.

  2. A Haiku for Laika:

    A sacrificial lamb?
    More accurately, a dog.
    It wasn’t worth it..

  3. Credit is due to Trentemøller and Trolle for the music, lyrics, singing and especially the very impressive reconstructive video. The Sputnik 2 is accurate, and the dog has a great deal of similarity to Laika is plausible. Albeit with artistic license, the prior life of said cosmonaut is even plausible; Laika was historically found as a stray in the streets of Moscow.

    Given that there was dispute at the time whether humans could survive the launch or environs of outer space it is not surprising that a non-human mammal was tested prior to sending people themselves. This was 1957 of course – dogs were still being cut up for insulin. Laika “won” the role after a period of training in competition with two others.

    The dog died of hyperthermia a few hours after launch; it would have suffered heat exhaustion and dizziness, it would have passed out and then suffered organ failure. Unpleasant, but a very far cry from being burned on re-entry. AFIAK, that only happened to people (i.e., Columbia).

    Anyway, here’s to Laika, the first space adventurer from our pale blue dot. Long may the the “little curly one” be remembered.

  4. Marianne Van den Lemmer

    Thank you, everyone, to remember the space dogs!
    I collect any item about space dogs.
    I am looking for a picture and the name of every dog. Any help is welcome!
    You may always contact me.

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