After the death and destruction of my last two posts I thought maybe it was time to put something a little more uplifting in here. Searching through the archives I discovered that in 1957 on 3rd November the first living creature soared through the skies and reached space aboard the Russian spacecraft Sputnik 2. Laika was a stray female dog found roaming the streets of Moscow who underwent training with two other dogs and was eventually chosen as the most suitable candidate. Until this time there was no way of knowing whether a living creature could survive the stresses put on the body during take-off.
Despite what I said in my opening paragraph about an uplifting story it seems that few things in history end well. Poor Laika was actually sent on a suicide mission, she never returned, she was never meant to return. So as well as this day marking the achievement of mankind (well dogkind) conquering space it also marks the dubious occasion of seeing the first death in space.
But without Laika's sacrifice man would never have travelled to space, would never have landed on the moon. These things probably don't mean a great deal to most of us, but think about it another way. Without space flight there wouldn't be the same number of satelites that we now have ... no mobile communication, no satelite TV ... basically the technologies we have today, the things we take for granted most probably wouldn't be around today if it wasn't for Laika. It took until April 2008 for Laika to recieve full recognition when a small monument in her honour was built near the military research facility in Moscow which prepared Laika's flight to space. It features a dog standing on top of a rocket.