Astronomy and Space


When and what was the first animal sent into orbit?

A small female dog named Laika, aboard the Soviet Sputnik 2, launched November 3, 1957, was the first animal sent into orbit. This event followed the successful Soviet launch on October 4, 1957, of Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite ever placed in orbit. Laika was placed in a pressurized compartment within a capsule that weighed 1,103 pounds (500 kilograms). After a few days in orbit, she died, and Sputnik 2 reentered Earth’s atmosphere on April 14, 1958. Some sources list the dog as a Russian samoyed laika named “Kudyavka” or “Limonchik.”


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