Laika, first dog in orbit – Yahoo! News

Just nine days before the launch, Doctor Vladimir Yazdovsky chose one of them — 2-year-old Laika — for the mission.

Stories about how she was chosen vary. Some say Laika was chosen for her good looks — a Soviet space pioneer had to be photogenic. Others say space doctors simply had a soft spot for Laika’s main rival and didn’t want to see her die: Since there was no way to design a re-entry vehicle in time for the launch, the glory of making space history also meant a certain death.

“Laika was quiet and charming,” Yazdovsky wrote in his book chronicling the story of Soviet space medicine. He recalled that before heading to the launchpad, he took the dog home to play with his children.

“I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live,” Yazdovsky said.

Laika, first dog in orbit – Yahoo! News

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