Thursday, October 18, 2007

Space Dogs of the Week

(photo from the NASA archives and in the public domain)

We didn't have any visiting dogs this week, so instead we're going old school. Meet Belka and Strelka, two of the at least 57 dogs the Soviet Union shot into space for orbital flights.

Unlike their much more famous predecessor, Laika, Belka and Strelka made it back to Earth. Later, one of Strelka's puppies was given to John Kennedy's daughter Caroline. So they did their level best to put cracks in the Iron Curtain.

And so, here's to all the Soviet space dogs.

The scientist who trained Laika said:

"Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog."

Laika was the subject of a story by John Haskell. Follow this link to listen to it.

Also, we had a really interesting Space Race-related event a couple of weeks back. If you're curious about the subject, you might pick up a copy of Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age.

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