TrainingDogs were the preferred animal for the experiments because scientists felt dogs were well suited to endure long periods of inactivity. As part of their training, they were confined in small boxes for 15–20 days at a time. Stray dogs, rather than animals accustomed to living in a house, were chosen because the scientists felt they would be able to tolerate the rigorous and extreme stresses of space flight better than other dogs. Female dogs were used because of their temperament and because the suit the dogs wore in order to collect urine and feces was equipped with a special device, designed to work only with females.Canine Nation (3 November 2002)
Sub-orbital flightsDogs were flown to an altitude of on board 15 scientific flights on R-1 rockets from 1951 to 1956. The dogs wore pressure suits with bubble helmets. From 1957 to 1960, 11 flights with dogs were made on the R-2A series, which flew to about . Three flights were made to an altitude of about on R-5A rockets in 1958. In the R-2 and R-5 rockets, the dogs were contained in a pressured cabin.
Dezik, Tsygan, and LisaDezik (Дезик) and Tsygan (Цыган, "Gypsy") were the first dogs to make a sub-orbital flight on 15 August 1951. Both dogs were recovered unharmed after travelling to a maximum altitude of . Dezik made another sub-orbital flight in 1951 with a dog named Lisa (Лиса, "Fox"), although neither survived because the parachute failed to deploy. After the death of Dezik, Tsygan was adopted as a pet by Soviet physicist Anatoli Blagonravov.
Lisa and RyzhikLisa (Лиса, "Fox" or "Vixen") and Ryzhik (Рыжик, "Ginger" (red-haired)) flew to an altitude of on 2 June 1954.
Smelaya and MalyshkaSmelaya (Смелая, "Brave" or "Courageous" (Female)) was due to make a flight in September but ran away the day before the launch. She was found the next day and went on to make a successful flight with a dog named Malyshka (Малышка, "Baby"). They both crashed after the rocket failed to deploy a parachute, and were found the next day by the recovery team.
Bobik and ZIBBobik (Бобик, common Russian name for small dog) ran away just days before his flight was scheduled to take place on 15 September 1951. A replacement named ZIB (ЗИБ, a Russian acronym for ''"Substitute for Missing Bobik"'', "Замена Исчезнувшему Бобику" ''Zamena Ischeznuvshemu Bobiku''), who was an untrained street dog found running around the barracks, was quickly located and made a successful flight to 100km and back.
Otvazhnaya and SnezhinkaOtvazhnaya (Отважная, "Brave One" (Female)) made a flight on 2 July 1959 along with a rabbit named Marfusha (Марфуша, "Little Martha") and another dog named Snezhinka (Снежинка, "Snowflake"). She went on to make 5 other flights between 1959 and 1960.
Albina and TsygankaAlbina (Альбина, a real female name) and Tsyganka (Цыганка, "Gypsy girl") were both ejected out of their capsule at an altitude of and landed safely. Albina was one of the dogs shortlisted for Sputnik 2, but never flew in orbit.
Damka and KrasavkaDamka (Дамка, "Queen of checkers") and Krasavka (Красавка, "Little Beauty" or "Belladonna") were to make an orbital flight on 22 December 1960 as a part of the Vostok programme which also included mice.Kate Baklitskaya (1 May 2013
Bars and LisichkaBars (Барс (pron. "Barss" not "Barz"); "Snow leopard") and Lisichka (Лисичка, "Little Fox") were also on a mission to orbit as a part of the Vostok programme, but died after their rocket exploded 28.5 seconds into the launch on July 28, 1960. Bars was also known as Chayka (Чайка, "Seagull"). Other dogs that flew on sub-orbital flights include Dymka (Дымка, "Smoky"), Modnitsa (Модница, "Fashionista") and Kozyavka (Козявка, "Little Gnat"). At least four other dogs flew in September 1951, and two or more were lost.
LaikaLaika (Лайка, "Barker") became the first living Earth-born creature (other than microbes) in orbit, aboard Sputnik 2 on 3 November 1957. Some call her the first living passenger to go into space, but many sub-orbital flights with animal passengers passed the edge of space first, for instance the rhesus macaque Monkeys and apes in space, Albert II. She was also known as Zhuchka (Жучка, "Little Bug") and Limonchik (Лимончик, "Little Lemon"). The Media of the United States, American media dubbed her "Muttnik", making a pun, play-on-words for the canine follow-on to the first orbital mission, Sputnik. She died between five and seven hours into the flight from stress and overheating. Her true cause of death was not made public until October 2002; officials previously gave reports that she died when the oxygen supply ran out. At a Moscow press conference in 1998 Oleg Gazenko, a senior Soviet scientist involved in the project, stated "The more time passes, the more I'm sorry about it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog...".
Belka and StrelkaBelka (Белка, literally, "Squirrel" or alternatively "Whitey") and Strelka (Стрелка, "Little Arrow") spent a day in space aboard Korabl-Sputnik 2 (Sputnik 5) on 19 August 1960 before safely returning to Earth. They were accompanied by a grey rabbit, 42 mice, two rats, flies and several plants and fungi. All passengers survived. They were the first Earth-born creatures to go into orbit and return alive.Strelka went on to have six puppies with a male dog named Pushok who participated in many ground-based space experiments, but never made it into space.John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Pchyolka and MushkaPchyolka (Пчёлка, "Little Bee") and Mushka (Мушка, "Little Fly") spent a day in orbit on 1 December 1960 on board Sputnik 6, Korabl-Sputnik-3 (Sputnik 6) with "other animals", plants and insects. Due to a Atmospheric entry, reentry error when the retrorockets failed to shut off when planned, their spacecraft was intentionally destroyed by remote self-destruct to prevent foreign powers from inspecting the capsule on 2 December and all died. Mushka was one of the three dogs trained for Sputnik 2 and was used during ground tests. She did not fly on Sputnik 2 because she refused to eat properly.
ChernushkaChernushka (Чернушка, "Blackie") made one orbit on board Sputnik 9, Korabl-Sputnik-4 (Sputnik 9) on 9 March 1961 with a cosmonaut dummy (whom Soviet officials nicknamed Ivan Ivanovich (Vostok programme), Ivan Ivanovich), mouse, mice and a guinea pig. The dummy was ejected out of the capsule during re-entry and made a soft landing using a parachute. Chernushka was recovered unharmed inside the capsule.
ZvyozdochkaZvyozdochka (Zvezdochka, Звёздочка, "Starlet" SP-2000-4408
Veterok and UgolyokVeterok (Ветерок, "Light Breeze") and Ugolyok (Уголёк, "Ember") were launched on 22 February 1966 on board Cosmos 110, and spent 21 days in orbit before landing on 16 March. This spaceflight of record-breaking duration was not surpassed by humans until Soyuz 11 in June 1971 and still stands as the longest space flight by dogs.
See also* Animals in space * Cosmo (comics) * Félicette: First cat in space * List of individual dogs * Monkeys and non-human apes in space * the Museum of Jurassic Technology has an eternal flame dedicated to Laika and a portrait gallery of the USSR's space dogs * Sputnik program * Voskhod program