Dog’s in space, not as strange as it sounds

Humans have been obsessed with space and the world above our heads for centuries and in more recent times we have developed the technology in order to be able to explore some of these worlds. It is nothing unusual these days to hear that a satellite or probe has found a new planet or that people are thinking of taking a trip into space as a form of tourism. The exploration of the unknown universe that revolves above our heads daily has become a part of our normal everyday life. But before we started sending astronauts into space, we used other animals and even insects.  There have been ants sent into space, monkeys and even dogs. The Russians in particular used dogs in their spacecraft missions.

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The dogs were harnessed in with collars and safety mechanisms although they were a lot more functional and clinical than the Dog Collars and Leads that you can see at

In 1960 on the 19th August it was two Russian dogs that became the first ever creatures to return to earth alove after orbiting around the Earth in a spacecraft. They were called Belka (which means squirrel) and Strelka (which means little arrow). They travelled on the Sputnik 5 spacecraft along with two rats and forty mice.

These weren’t the only dogs to have been used in the pursuits of space travel. Here are some facts about our canine friends and the stars above us.

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  • The first dog to even orbit the Earth was a dog named Laika and she did this in 1957. Although she was carefully monitored from the ground and successful made the trip to orbit the planet there were no plans or attempts for her and the spacecraft, she was travelling in to return to Earth. Eventually a monument was built in Moscow to commemorate this little dog and everything that she achieved.
  • Just three weeks before Belka and Strelka returned from their successful travel two other dogs – Bars and Lisichka, were killed when the booster rocket on their test flight blew up during take-off.
  • Strelka eventually gave birth to six puppies, one of which was given to the daughter of JF Kennedy as a gift.
  • Out of all of the dog breeds that could have been chosen for these flight, female mongrels were the ones selected as they had an ability to deal with stress that was not found in other breeds and also had good temperaments which made them easy to train and to work with.

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