Laika, the first dog in space, died aboard Sputnik 2 in 1957.

The Soviet Union officially claimed at the time that Laika was euthanized on Day 6 of the flight, just prior to oxygen depletion.

Laika was the Russian space dog aboard Sputnik 2 - the first animal in space

Laika was the Russian space dog aboard Sputnik 2 - the first animal in space

In 2002, Russia released the official records concerning Laika, who the workers on the project nicknamed “Little Curly”. Laika most probably died within hours of launch due to a failure of the cooling system.

When launched into space, there was no plan to recover Laika alive.

At the time, neither the Russians nor the Americans had the technology to bring home a spaceship once launched into orbit.

Laika was a stray dog picked up on the streets of Moscow. Scientists believed that a stray dog would have more ability to withstand wide swings in temperature.

Three dogs were trained for the mission. However, Laika was chosen to be aboard Sputnik 2 when it took off for space on November 3, 1957.

Movie poster for My Life As a Dog

Movie poster for My Life As a Dog

Laika is referenced throughout the Swedish movie, “My Life as a Dog”.

The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards in 1988, including Best Director (Lasse Hallstrom) and Best Screenplay.

“My Life as a Dog” is on my list of My 101 Favorite Movies.

The movie is about a boy separated from his mother due to her illness.

The boy is transported from relative to relative, town to town.

In the movie, the boy reflects upon the similarities between his life and the life of the Russian space dog.

The DVD is available with either subtitles or voice-over.

In 2008, the Russian government installed a monument to Laika’s memory in Moscow near the former military station where Laika was prepared for flight.

Monument to Laika the Space Dog in Moscow Russia

Monument to Laika the Space Dog in Moscow Russia

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