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Dogs in space

By Susha  

SpacedogFifty years ago today, the Soviet Union launched the first living being—a dog—into orbit on the spacecraft Sputnik 2. A female mongrel, Laika was a stray found on the streets of Moscow. She was one of many candidates for the mission. With her fellow dogs, she was trained by being kept in increasingly small cages for weeks at a time. Laika’s calm manner under these conditions led to her being chosen.

It emerged later—and contrary to what the Soviet authorities had previously said—that Laika died a few hours into the flight, from overheating and stress. Her…

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