National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

A song for Laika

Posted: 16 July 2009. Updated: 16 July 2009


Laika was the first living mammal to orbit the Earth, she was also the first orbital casualty. She was launched into outer space on November 3, 1957 in the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2. Scientists knew very little about the impact of space flight on living things at the time of the mission involving Laika. Sputnik 2 was not designed to be returned to Earth; Laika had never been intended to survive. Laika died a few hours after launch, the true cause and time of her death not being made public until 2002.

Oleg Gazenko (1918 – 2007), the former director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, who selected Laika, never recovered from sending her to her death. Expressing his regret in 1998 he 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”.

On April 11, 2008, a monument to Laika was unveiled by Russian officials, near the military research facility in Moscow where Laika’s flight to space was prepared.

Maria Daines and Paul Killington remember her in a new song.
Find out more and Listen to the song for Laika

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