Dog Star: Laika Honored in Moscow
The first living thing in space (at least from Earth) has finally gotten her due: a statue has been erected in Moskow for Laika, the first Earthling in space. Laika began life as a street dog, and was later quite literally rocketed to fame as part of the USSR's high-profile space program.
The monument, erected a day before Russia's Cosmonautics Day celebrated on April 12, is a two-meter (6.5 feet) high space rocket with Laika proudly standing on top.
The three-year-old mongrel, originally named Kudryavka or 'little curly-haired one,' was selected from an animal shelter to become the first living passenger to fly on the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2.
Laika was launched into space on November 3, 1957 and died a few hours later from overheating. Officials said she died due to a lack of oxygen, but the true cause of death was only made public in October 2002.
He died of overheating and panic during the first few hours of the flight. The satellite burned up upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere five months after the launch.
"Laika was quiet andcharming," Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky wrote in his book chronicling the story ofSoviet space medicine. He recalled that before heading to the launch pad, hetook the dog home to play with his children. "I wanted to do something nice forher: She had so little time left to live," Yazdovsky said.
Twenty-year-old Krosh is one of 3,000 monkeys living in the Sochi Primate Research Institute. He is a retired cosmonaut.
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