Laika was once a part of our family - she was with us for four years, but we had to send her to the Dumanhugs (thank God we did as she was in better hands) because my son was asthmatic. How did Laika the space dog die? Laika was a mongrel female, approx 3 years old, quiet and charming. Laika died within hours from overheating, possibly caused by a failure of the central R-7 sustainer to separate from the payload. Laika touched the stars before she died and she touched the hearts and minds of generations. But the unexpected happened. She was the typical LOYAL dog, always following her master, and when reprimanded looked at … She was one of a number of stray dogs that were taken into the Soviet spaceflight program after being rescued from the streets. The plan was for Laika to die in space. Laika (Russian: Лайка; c. 1954 – 3 November 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. She died because--or so scientists predict--when the Soviet Sputnick 2 crashed, the cabin overheated, killing poor Laika within hours. Laika, a stray mongrel from the streets of Moscow, was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on 3 November 1957. Telemetry data showed that Laika survived the launch, according to Anatoly Zak of RussianSpaceWeb.com. For five more months, Earth was orbited by a dead dog, the second thing humans ever put into space. Laika (Russian: Лайка; c. 1954 – 3 November 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika went to space, her fate decided by man. Sputnik II remained in orbit until April 14, 1958, when it was cremated upon reentering Earth's atmosphere. Only female dogs were used because they were considered to be anatomically better suited than males for close confinement. She died a painful death, within hours, from overheating and panic. She is a dog. The cause of death was the excessive heating of the aircraft in the sun. With only 3 weeks to create the new spacecraft, the Russians didn’t have time to create a way for Laika to make it home. The creators of the apparatus thought that the dog would die 6 days after the launch, when the apparatus had run out of electricity. What lessons can we learn from Laika the space dog and are we still making the same mistakes. Initially, Soviet publications claimed that the dog died… The new documentary, which—according to Wired—will turn your stomach and break your heart, tells the story of Laika, a dog who died aboard Sputnik 2 after being blasted into space by experimenters who knew they were condemning her to a horrible death. The National Canine Defence League was calling on all dog lovers to observe a minute's silence. We now know that Laika died of overheating about 5-7 hours after launch. 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