"THE COLD WAR - SPUTNIK - AND SOVIET SPACE DOG LAIKA" Please note - BOLD TYPE IS HISTORICAL and NORMAL TEXT IS FICTIONAL
by: Aaron George Bailey Sherwood, Arkansas USA This Web Page was created on October 4, 2007
NOTE: The fictional master is a SYMBOLIC character that loosely represents two men. Firstly, Dr. Oleg Gazenko (MD) as related to the content of his 1998 interview, see "FORTY YEARS LATER - THE REST OF THE STORY", and also to Air Force Doctor Vladimir I. Yazdovskiy as related to him taking Laika home for a brief time prior to her space flight. (5A) The pad workers, comrade 31, Nikita the sausage stand keeper and the Flight Director, are fictional characters and DO NOT represent any particular person or persons, either alive of deceased, who were involved in the Sputnik 2 space mission. Other named persons, canines and places, and BOLD text related to them, plus dates and times are thought to be historically correct. Laika is referred to historically as having a "calm nature," her behavior described herein is typical of most dogs and was used to develop the story. Of course, her early life as a stray is unknown and was fabricated for the story. The final countdown events for the R-7 rocket and the Sputnik 2 mission are unknown and were guessed at. Perhaps someone out there could enlighten me about the flow of countdown/mission events and other missing historical specifics related to the flight, I wish. I want this web page to be a ongoing repository for facts about Laika and Sputnik 2. The keeper of this web site welcomes any comments, information, photos, old or new printed articles, the Sputnik 2 QSL card from Radio Moscow, visual or radio observation reports, images of stamps or other collectibles, input from early space pioneers or from anyone who worked on, or has unique knowledge of, the Sputnik 2 flight.
The building of this web page has been an, ON again, OFF again, kind of endeavor spanning over five years. I’ve collected facts from many sources and tried to put them into one document but so much is unknown and this work is by no means the final story of Laika/Sputnik 2. This web site exists, in part, to counter some of the superficial, sanitized accounts of Laika's flight. I'm aware of the myriad of discrepancies surrounding the story of Laika and I struggled with the justification of adding fiction (NORMAL TEXT) into a mix of what I believe to be historical fact (BOLD TEXT), the result of which, might further confuse the quest for the true story. Some of the fiction, especially which is related to dog behavior, probably has a basis in truth. The fictional text is meant to connect the facts and give the story continuity and a human dimension. Historically, all that is known about Laika is that she was a small stray roaming the streets of Moscow and she had a "calm nature", what she looked like has even been questioned. For better or worse a dog will bond with any human who gives them attention and so too Laika must have bonded with someone in her training staff, hence the dog and Master theme. I can't tell you what it is like to stand near a fueled R-7 rocket but I can tell you about the nature of a dog and the bond between man and dog, which is a strong fiber in the weave of this story. There are countless books, poems, songs and films about the different facets of human betrayal. Granted, Laika was an experimental test animal who was sacrificed to advance scientific knowledge. But still, there was human betrayal of that noble bond between man and the trusting dog. Unlike any other creature, the dogs relationship with humans is special. This special bond reminds me of an old Bindibu legend from Australia, and it goes something like this; -
"The earth split in two shortly after creation, leaving Man on one side and all the other animals on the other. None of the other animals seemed to mind this new arrangement except for the dog. He ran up and down, whimpering, anxiously trying to find a way across the divide. The dog finally leapt over, caught the edge of the opposite side and started to slip down into the abyss. But Man pulled the dog to safety, proclaiming, You shall be my companion forever." reference for above quote- http://www.thebark.com/ezine/commentary_kibble/kibble.html
So few facts are known and liberties had to be taken in order to tell a story about Laika. As a dog lover, I angled the story to what Laika might have experienced, looking through the eyes of Laika, which at best can only be guessed at anyway. The content of this web site can be viewed in several ways. However, like a rock jutting out of a raging sea, this web page will remain above the turbulence of any controversy which it might spawn. It stands alone as a tribute to the space dog Laika and it isn't intended to promote or offend any person, group or organization. Let it be known, the URL links and references herein might not necessarily embrace the degree of focus or the direction of my story or agree with the historical accuracy of the content, which they certainly have the right to do. This is a copyright web page. Credit must be given to this web site and author if any material herein is made reference to. However, because of its nature, no part of it can be copied for use in a profiteering oriented endeavor. Some of the web images herein have reference URLs, however, some are unknown (URL pending), herein are TV snaps, my photos of museum exhibits and various collectibles, some are international postage stamp scans and most are rough computer generated sketches. In the interest of fair play, unknown origin type pictures are purposely small in size or purposely degraded in quality and were used only to reinforce the story. If a copyright issue exists within this web page, then e-mail me the details and the item will be removed promptly. If you don't find a URL link or written credit for your photo or unique information, then please notify me so it can be added. If I have made reference to your work and have distorted it or misrepresented it, then please let me know so I can correct it. Images with captions were chosen to give younger readers a general overview of the early Space Age and how it was intertwined with Cold War politics. Sputnik 2 and this tribute to space dog Laika form the cornerstone of this web page and are the portal to its lighter side, which is my old hobby of monitoring radio signals from manned space flights, mainly, older Soviet space missions. For this reason, my Laika / Sputnik-2 story is weighted toward my love of radio and electronics. I apologize for the rough look of the computer generated sketches. Viewing them is somewhat like listening to an old radio show. That is, hopefully they are good enough to tickle your imagination so your mind can conjure up a better image. And please excuse my grammar, the King's English isn't used correctly at times and I like to use extra commas too.
The Keeper of this Web Page would only ask this of Visitors. - If this story of Laika should tug at your heartstrings, then perhaps you could channel your feelings toward helping your local Animal Shelter.