Russian Space Dogs
Belka and Strelka orbited the Earth and returned safely on Korabl-Sputnik-2
During the 1950s
and 1960s the
USSR used a number of dogs for
flights to determine whether human spaceflight was feasible. Before becoming
cosmonauts, the dogs were strays from
total in the 1950s and 60s, the
Union launched missions with passenger slots for at least 57 dogs. The
actual number of dogs in space is smaller as some dogs flew more than once.
Stray dogs, rather than animals accustomed to living in a house, were chosen
because the scientists felt they would be able to tolerate the rigours and
extreme stresses of space flight better than other dogs. Female dogs were used
because of their temperament and the fact that they did not need to lift their
leg to urinate.
Their training included standing still for long periods of time, wearing
space suits, being placed in simulators that acted like a rocket during launch,
riding in centrifuges that simulated the high acceleration of a rocket launch
and being kept in progressively smaller cages to prepare them for the confines
of the space capsules. Dogs that flew in orbit were fed a nutritious gel.
Original russian space dog box used on suborbital and orbital flights
Several dogs made high-altitude flights on
R-1 series rockets between
Dezik, Tsygan and Lisa
Dezik (Дезик) and Tsygan (Цыган, "Gypsy") were the first dogs
to make a sub-orbital flight on
1951. Both dogs
were recovered unharmed after travelling to a maximum altitude of 100km. Dezik
made another flight in September with a dog named Lisa, although neither
Lysa and Ryjik
Lysa (Лиса, "Fox" or "Vixen") and Ryjik (Рыжик, "Red One") flew
to an altitude of 100km on
Smelaya and Malyshka
Smelaya (Смелая, "Bold" or "Courageous") was due to make a flight in
September but ran away the day before the launch. Russian officials feared she
had been eaten by
wolves but she was found the next day and went on to make a successful
flight with a dog named Malyshka (Малышка, "Little One").
Bolik and ZIB
Bolik (Болик) ran away just days before her flight in September 1951.
A replacement named ZIB (allegedly, a Russian acronym for "Substitute
for Missing Dog Bolik") was quickly located and made a successful flight.
Otvazhnaya and Snezhinka
Otvazhnaya (Отважная, "Brave One") made a flight on
1959 along with a
rabbit named Marfusha (Марфуша, "Martha") and another dog named
Snezhinka (Снежинка, "Snowflake"). She went on to make 5 other flights
between 1959 and 1960.
Albina and Tsyganka
Albina (Альбина, "Whitey") and Tsyganka (Цыганка, "Gypsy girl")
were both ejected out of their capsule at an altitude of 85km and landed safely.
Albina was one of the dogs shortlisted for
but never flew in orbit.
Damka and Krasavka
Damka (Дамка, "Little Lady") and Krasavka (Красавка, "Little
Beauty") were both planned to make an orbital flight on
however after the upper stage rocket failed the flight was aborted. Both were
recovered successfully after an unplanned sub-orbital flight. Damka was also
known as Shutka (Шутка, "Joke") and Zhemchuzhnaya (Жемчужная, "Pearly") and
Krasavka was also known as Kometka (Кометка, "Comet") and Zhulka (Жулька,
Other dogs that flew on sub-orbital flights include Dymka (Думка,
"Smoky"), Modnitsa (Модница, "Fashionable") and Kozyavka (Козявка,
At least four other dogs flew in September 1951 with two or more lost.
Laika became the first living being in orbit on Sputnik 2
Laika (Лайка, "Barker"), originally named Kudryavka (Кудрявка, "Little
Curly") became the first living Earth-born creature in orbit aboard
3, 1957. Some
call her the first living passenger to go into space, but others claim
sub-orbital flights passed the edge of space first. She was also known as
Zhuchka (Жучка, "Little Bug") and Limonchik (Лимончик, "Lemon"). The
American media dubbed her "Muttnik." She died between five and seven hours
into the flight from stress and overheating. Her true cause of death was not
made public until years after the flight, with officials giving conflicting
reports that she was either
euthanized by poisoned food or died when the oxygen supply ran out. The
scientist responsible for the project has since expressed regret for
allowing Laika to die.
Bars and Lisichka
Bars (Барс, "Panther" or "Lynx") and Lisichka (Лисичка, "Little
Fox") died after their rocket exploded 28.5 seconds into the launch on
1960. Bars was also
known as Chayka ("Gull").
Belka and Strelka
Russian Stamp commemorating Belka and Strelka
Stuffed Strelka on tour in Australia in 1991
Belka (Белка, literally, "Squirrel," but as a dog's name it more
likely means "Whitey", from Russian: "belyi" (for "white") and Strelka (Стрелка,
"Little Arrow") spent a day in space aboard
Korabl-Sputnik-2 (Sputnik 5) on
1960 before safely
returning to Earth. They were accompanied by a grey rabbit, 40 mice, 2 rats,
flies and a number of plants and fungi. All biological passengers survived.
Strelka went on to have six puppies, one of whom named Pushinka (Пушинка,
"Fluffy"), was sent to President
John F. Kennedy's children as a present. Pushinka's descendents are still
After death, the bodies of both Strelka and Belka were preserved. Belka is on
display in Moscow, while Strelka continues to tour the world as part of a
Pchelka and Mushka
Pchelka (Пчелка, "Little Bee") and Mushka (Мушка, "Little Fly")
spent a day in orbit on
1960 on board
Korabl-Sputnik-3 (Sputnik 6) with "other animals", plants and insects. Due
to a navigation error their spacecraft disintegrated during
and all were killed. Mushka was one of the three dogs trained for
and was used during ground tests. She did not fly on Sputnik 2 because she
refused to eat properly.
Chernushka (Чернушка, "Blackie") made one orbit on board
Korabl-Sputnik-4 (Sputnik 9) on
1961 with a
cosmonaut dummy (whom Russian officials nicknamed "Ivan Ivanovich"),
mice and a
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.
Zvezdochka (Звездочка, "Little Star"), who was named by
Gagarin, made one orbit on board
on March 25,
1961 with a wooden
cosmonaut dummy in the final practise flight before Gagarin's historic flight on
Again, the dummy was ejected out of the capsule whilst Zvezdochka remained
inside. Both were recovered successfully.
Veterok and Ugolyok
Veterok (Ветерок, "Little Wind") and Ugolyok (Уголёк, "Ember")
were launched on
22, 1966 on
Voskhod 3 and spent 22 days in orbit before landing on
This spaceflight of record-breaking duration was not surpassed by humans until
Skylab 2 in
1974 and still
stands as the longest space flight by dogs.
| List of U.S. Presidential Pets
| Russian Space Dogs
Dogs, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software
This guide is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.
Recommend This Page To A Friend!