Space walkies … a postcard of Belka and Strelka in their rocket. Photograph: Fuel Publishing
In the Soviet era, space travel was a major goal and stray dogs collected from the streets were the first explorers in the space program. This article, by Oliver Wainwright, provides some insight into the propaganda behind the program and how they matched with reality.
It is a rather sad tale of how dogs were exploited in the name of progress, but such exploitation still occurs today in the name of science (arguably, with varying degrees of success, with more standards and controls in place). Read the story by clicking on this link: The dogs that conquered space | Art and design | The Guardian.
I have previously blogged about Laika the space dog; so be sure to check out that column for more information on Laika.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand
Posted in animal welfare, Dogs, special dogs and awards
Tagged Belka, Belka and Strelka, dogs in space, Laika, Oliver Wainwright, Soviet, space program, space travel, stray dogs, Strelka
Sky TV (our cable channel) has been airing the film Apollo 13 for the millionth time and so, as my mind wanders, I started thinking about the first dog in space.
Her name was Laika, which means Barker in the Russian language. She was found as a stray dog but ultimately was sent into orbit on Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.
A photo of Laika in her specially designed space capsule
Her successful launch into space was the subject of a lot of fanfare and heralded as an achievement by the Russian space programme. Over the years, her launch into space was celebrated in a range of postage stamps from around the world.
Back in 1957, people were told that Laika lived almost a week in space before dying a painless death. In 2002, those facts were disputed at the World Space Congress in Houston, Texas, by Dimitri Malashenkov of the Institute for Biological Problems in Moscow.
He reported that Laika died from overheating and panic just a few hours after the mission started.
Dr Malashenkov revealed several new details about Laika’s mission at the conference, including that the dog was chained to prevent her turning around and that her food was prepared in a jelly format for space travel. There was a carbon dioxide absorbing device in the cabin to prevent the accumulation of this toxic gas as well as an oxygen generator (similar to what was used in Apollo 13).
Medical sensors attached to Laika showed that her heart rate increased by to 3 times its resting rate during the launch. Other sensors showed that temperature and humidity increased as the space ship attained orbit. Within five to seven hours of flight, mission control in the Soviet Union stopped receiving life signs from Laika.
Laika achieved a place in history for her flight into space, which proved that life forms could survive (with support) in orbit. Unfortunately for Laika, she lived in a time when animal experimentation was an accepted norm.
Source: BBC News
Posted in Dogs, special dogs and awards
Tagged Apollo 13, Barker, BBC News, commemorative, film apollo 13, Laika, orbit, postage stamps, Russian space program, science, space exploration, sputnik 2, World Space Congress