The first dog in orbit, carried aboard Sputnik II on November 3rd, 1957. Literally "Barker" in Russian. Laika was supposed to have died four days into the orbit by a package of poisoned food, but died much earlier, a few hours into the flight, due to overheating. Formerly a stray, Laika was at once the most lucky and most unlucky dog in the world.
A series of Russian artificial satellites sent into orbit during the late 1950s. Literally "fellow wanderer" in Russian. Sputnik I made history on October 4, 1957, by becoming the first man-made object put into orbit. Sputnik II would follow later, this time carrying Laika, the first dog in space.
Sputnik I amazed and terrified the American public: the small blipping dome made an orbit every ninety minutes, a symbol of Soviet space supremacy.