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Laika, the Pioneering Space Dog, Was Launched 60 Years Ago Today ( 74

sqorbit writes: Sixty years ago, the space race was in full swing. Russia had sent Sputnik into space with much success. In an effort to push farther, they rushed sending a dog into space in a re-purposed Sputnik rocket. The mission launched with no clear solution to a safe re-entry. Within a few hours of launch, temperature controls failed, killing the female dog named Laika. Launched on November 3, 1957, it did not re-enter the earth's atmosphere until April 14, 1958. Laika was the first living creature to fly into orbit, reports. While Soviet publications at the time claimed that Laika died, painlessly, after a week in Earth's orbit, Anatoly Zak of writes that several Russian sources revealed decades later that the dog actually survived in orbit for four days and then died when the cabin overheated. "According to other sources, severe overheating and the death of the dog occurred only five or six hours into the mission," he writes. "With all systems dead, the spacecraft continued circling the Earth until April 14, 1958, when it re-entered the atmosphere after 2,570 orbits (2,370 orbits according to other sources) or 162 days in space. Many people reportedly saw a fiery trail of Sputnik 2 as it flew over New York and reached the Amazon region in just 10 minutes during its re-entry."
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Laika, the Pioneering Space Dog, Was Launched 60 Years Ago Today

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  • ..and time the landing for lunchtime.

  • Time pressure (Score:5, Informative)

    by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Saturday November 04, 2017 @08:33AM (#55488481)
    One has to understand that at this epoch the USSR was very vulnerable. The US planes could fly over the whole Soviet territory, but the soviet planes could not even reach the USA.

    That is why they tried to make from the rocket program more than it actually was. These first rockets could barely fly.
    • Not quite. R7 test launches were required anyway, the rocket had a very large throw weight so Korolyov suggested to use it to launch satellites combining the tests with some useful payload and giving the Americans the finger as a triple win situation. As for the bombers, by 1957 the Soviets did already have the Tu-95.

    • Vulnerable? WTF? The Soviet Union was closed. Like North Korea is today. The whole Second World was closed off. Where do you think the phrase "Iron Curtain" came from?

      To get any information at all required ridiculous amounts of technology like developing the SR-71. By contrast, whenever the Soviets wanted to spy on somewhere, they sent a man out in a car from their embassy with the KGB's super-high tech spy equipment: a camera and a notebook.

    • by rossdee ( 243626 )

      "the soviet planes could not even reach the USA"


      The Bears had a long enough range to reack much of the continental USA, (coming over the north pole) although since they didn.t have air-air refueling it would have been a 1 way trip
      and most would have been shot down

    • by Snard ( 61584 )
      My apologies for the broken link - I should have confirmed it before I posted, but I trusted the artist's own blog wouldn't have a dead link... If someone has an official link, I would appreciate if they could post it. Otherwise I'll assume people know how to find this stuff on their own.
  • How many americanised monkeys ended burned to death in explosions in USA's tests? I have heard of about 60 pieces of apes, incinerated during or shortly after lauch. But these truths are being kept under a deep deep all-deniable lid.
  • Not sure if this will play outside Canada or not.

    But here it is: Cosmonauts: How Russia Won The Space Program [], a fascinating look at the USSR's space program, and what they got right, and why.

    Definitely worth watching.

    • Only if you define "won" as "got there first." The Japanese "won" the race to high definition TV, but all the HDTV standards today are based on the U.S. HDTV standards. Why? Because the Japanese version of HDTV was analog - that was the quickest way to transmit HDTV signals in the 1970s. The U.S. HDTV program didn't get started until the late 1980s, right around the time digital signal processors were rapidly improving in performance and dropping in price. Consequently the U.S. version of HDTV was digi
      • by kbahey ( 102895 )

        Yes, 'won' here is 'got there first'. It is how the documentary was named, not a conclusion by me.

        Russia still has a functional system that takes stuff to orbit for cheap (e.g. payloads to the space station), unlike the space shuttle, ...etc.

        They built on their strength and did not invest much outside that. They don't have missions to Mars, they don't have space telescopes, ...etc.

        But to be fair, they had to deal with a lot of political turmoil after the collapse of USSR, contrary to other countries.

        Now, th

      • Not that Moore's Law will necessarily last forever; but it doesn't actually predict a doubling of clock speed. It predicts a doubling of the number of transistors on a chip. And while clock speeds have been pretty stagnant, pretty much everything is multi-core nowadays. So I wouldn't worry about the apocalypse just yet. Damn application & game developers need to drag themselves out of the last decade and write proper multi-threaded code to take full advantage of modern CPUs, that's all.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've always loved Laika. His was a sad tale, a tragedy really. Poor Laika is in dog heaven now.

  • ... the soviets came up with the most convoluted and expensive way to euthanize a dog.
  • Laika was the first living creature to fly into orbit,

    I've heard nothing of any attempts at sterilising Sputnik 1, so it's almost certain that it carried bacteria, insects and possibly tardigrades into space, where some would have persisted for a time.

    Do people actually no think at all before committing their stream of consciousness to electrons?

  • Poor Laika (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jamlad ( 3436419 ) on Saturday November 04, 2017 @11:10AM (#55488947)
    The goodest of dogs.
  • "Within a few hours of launch, temperature controls failed, killing the female dog named Laika"

    No, the dog was electrocuted in orbit as the Soviets had yet to master controlled re-entry and the dog would have fried and/or been killed on impact. Even Gagarin [] had to bail out at twenty thousand feet and parachute to earth.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton