Dog Talk 1 – Space Dogs

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By: Zach Conroy

Welcome to Dog Talk, where I write about the two best things on Earth: engineering and dogs! In today’s edition We will be talking about three dogs in the 1960’s and 1950’s that pioneered space travel, and how they helped humanity engineer the next generation of rockets. These dogs’ stories also show how the engineering design process works.

Starting out with the most famous of the three dogs, Laika. Laika was the first animal in space. This dog was launched aboard the Sputnik 2, which was built with knowledge gained from the shortcomings of Sputnik 1. It was outfitted with a pressurized capsule for Laika. She was trained for the high stress and tight space inside Sputnik 2 for months, until she was finally ready for lift-off. In November of 1957, Laika lifted off to space. Sadly, this was a one-way trip, and Laika died after only a few orbits because of overheating caused by a heat shield failure.

In August of 1960, Strelka and Belka were among the first animals to successfully return from space on the Sputnik 5 capsule. The engineers improved the spaceship by making advances in the dog capsule and making it returnable. This would eventually lead to humans coming to and returning from space.

In conclusion, this relates to engineering because the evolution of Sputniks from 1 to 5 followed the engineering design process, and successfully improved the functions of Sputnik capsules. Also, the rockets were engineered to send animals to space.

You can read the article at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/sad-story-laika-space-dog-and-her-one-way-trip-orbit-1-180968728/