When the Russian space agency announced in 1957 that on board the Sputnik 2 satellite, there would be a dog named Laika, the world was divided into those who thought it was cruel and reckless, and those who found it necessary for the good of humanity. It was known from the very beginning that the dog would not be brought back to Earth, but will die in space.
For four decades, however, the information about how the dog that changed history really died was concealed. The details of the experiment were issued in 2002.
Laika was homeless, living on the streets of Moscow. She was also the first living being fired into space on board a satellite. Its mission was to examine how a living organism will react to being in a hermetically sealed capsule during take-off and flying in the orbit with zero gravity.
Originally, her female name was Kudrivka or Limontschik. Her name was changed just before the flight.
The initial training was attended by a total of 10 dogs. From this group, one best suited for the experiment was chosen. Scientists studied the reaction of dogs to factors associated with the flight, and then subjected them to tests in an airtight capsule.
Eventually, Laika was selected for the flight.
She was stray dog, already accustomed to harsh living conditions, and thus better suited to endure the hardships of the journey than a home puppy.