Details
Unidentified Photographer

The dog Laika, first animal to orbit the Earth, before launch

Sputnik II, November 3, 1957

Vintage gelatin silver print on fiber-based paper, 20 x 15cm, original press photograph with Keystone caption in German dated 14.11.1957 on the verso
20 x 15cm. (8 x 6in.)

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Lot Essay

On November 3, 1957, Laika became the first animal launched into Earth orbit, paving the way for human spaceflight during the upcoming years. This photograph shows her in the Sputnik II capsule before launch.

The experimental flight aimed to prove that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure a micro-g environment, paving the way for human spaceflight and providing scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments.
Laika died within hours from overheating. The technology to de-orbit had not yet been developed, so Laika’s survival was never expected.

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