So I thought I’d make a post about Laika’s extraordinary journey:
Laika is Russian for “barker”, which is now also referred to a breed of dog: mongrel (mixed breed).
She was found wandering the streets of my home town Moscow, and along with 2 other dogs began training for space flight. Training included: keeping the dogs in progressively smaller and insolated cages for increasingly longer periods up to 20 days, placed in centrifuges that simulated launch accelerations, and exposed to machines that simulated the noise experienced during launch.
There days before the start of the mission Laika was placed inside the small cockpit and chained to restrict her movement to standing, sitting or lying down. She had access to gel form food on board, and fitted with a waste bag.
Her craft, Sputnik 2, was a rush job to meet Khrushchev’s request to launch the next satellite on November 7 (the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution). The team designed and built the craft in four weeks. So on November 3, 1957 the satellite was launched.
At peak acceleration Laika’s respiration increased to 3-4 times the pre-launch rate. Her heart rate increased to 240 beats/min from 103 (pre launch). There was a malfunction during separation, and some thermal insulation tore loose, raising cabin temp to 40°C. (the ideal temp planned for Laika was 15 degrees) After three hours of weightlessness, her pulse went back down to normal and she was eating again. After 7 hours no signs of life were received. Laika had died from overheating and stress.
Her sacrifice however, proved to the world that surviving launch into orbit was possible, and paved the way for human space flight.
Laika, was in fact the inspiration for my short film ‘C BLOCK’. At one point it was even titled ‘Laika’, but due to various reasons (including the fact that my dog never actually goes to space) I chose an alternate title. I just like to think that the name of the dog in the film is Laika.
Guess what I’ll be naming my own dog in the future?
Well thats all I have to say...thanks for reading my wikipedia summary :)
Oh, I also found a couple of interesting documentary clips to give us a glimpse of the space race in the 50s: