Over 50 years ago, during the height of the Cold War the Soviet Russians were propelling themselves far ahead of America in the Space Race. In fact two of Russia’s earliest Cosmonauts were dogs, Belka and Strelka, launched into orbit and successfully returned to earth unharmed. Below is an excerpt from the August 23, 1960 edition of the St. Peterburg Times English language newspaper describing their journey into the outer space.
Apparently during the televised space flight the dogs were agitated and nervous during the initial launch stages as the G-force pulled them deep into their seats. Once weightlessness was reached in orbit the dogs hung in the space ship cabin dazed and confused. They began to eat once they became used to the weightlessness and returned to earth without incident where they were promptly shown off at a press conference.
“The two dogs, whose spaceship dropped them into a peaceful meadow somewhere in the Soviet Union wore their tailored space suits to the news conference… Sitting on a table over bright lights, the two travelers to the cosmos blinked their discomfort. They also scampered about and nuzzled newsmen. A Soviet space scientist said it took a year to prepare Strelka (Little Arrow) and Belka (Squirrel) for their historic trip, on which they were accompanied by a jar of flies and some mice.”
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