The first animals to be domesticated, for centuries dogs helped their humans conquer the world. So perhaps it was only natural, as humans began to look toward other worlds, that their minds turned back to their first and most loyal companions. In this installment of Doggy History, we will examine the heroic animals (canines and others) sent into space during the mid-20th century.
Colin Burgess and Chris Dubbs. Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle. Chichester: Praxis, 2007.
Ann Kleimola. “A Legacy of Kindness: V.L. Durov’s Revolutionary Approach to Animal Training.” In Other Animals: Beyond the Human in Russian Culture and History. Edited by Jane Costlow and Amy Nelson. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010, pp. 164-177.
Amy Nelson. “The Legacy of Laika: Celebrity, Sacrifice, and the Soviet Space Dogs.” In Beastly
Natures: Human-Animal Relations at the Crossroads of Cultural and Environmental History. Edited by Dorothee Brantz. Charlottesville: UVA Press, 2010, pp. 204-224.
Asif Siddiqi. Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race 1945-1974. NASA History Division, 2000.
Asif Siddiqi. The Red Rockets’ Glare: Spaceflight and the Russian Imagination, 1857-1957. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Olesya Turkina. Soviet Space Dogs. London: FUEL, 2014.
If you’d like a good cry, and an interesting take on Soviet politics surrounding the launch of Sputnik 2, please enjoy this graphic novel about Laika:
Nick Abadzis. Laika. First Second Books, 2007.
He also wrote several happier alternate endings. But here’s a palate cleanser anyway.
This episode is part of our Doggy History Series.
Music: "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin Macleod (www.incompetech.com)