On November 3, 1957, the first living creature, a dog, was sent to space onboard Soviet Union's Sputnik 2.
The launch was timed to coincide with the October Revolution and was indeed a show of communist knowhow at a time of cold war.
However, Laika was not the first dog to travel to space on Russian rockets, several other dogs from the Russian streets were chosen as test subjects. The strays were chosen based on the theory that if they could survive on the streets of Moscow, they can endure the rigorous space flight.
The other characteristics required to be chosen was a bright fur coat to be easily spotted on the camera and size not too small. All dogs chosen to fly were females, so as to simplify the design of their suits.
It was the first evidence to prove that survival outside the Earth was possible and later paved way for manned space missions.
Russians records say that Laika died after spending four days in space.
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