BUSTING THE MYTH OF - A TV IMAGE OF LAIKA FROM ORBIT ?
by: Aaron George Bailey
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The so called TV image of Laika from orbit has persisted for years on the WWW and has made its way into
space books as well..  Early on, I too was fooled by this TV image (above), because its likeness favors Laika
in appearance.  The purpose of this article is to but the brakes on this line of thinking which seems to feed
on itself and, unfortunately,  has taken on a life of its own.  The root cause of this error seems to trace
back to confusion over the mission names of two totally different dog flights, namely "
Sputnik-2"  with
Laika in 1957 and "Korabl
Sputnik-2"  with the dogs Belka and Strelka from August 1960.   The seed of the  
confusion begins with the mission naming,
"Sputnik-2" is used twice.  

Left and Below - Actual TV Images of Belka from Orbit,  NOT from Laika.
In the filmstrip to the left, slow scan TV frames show Belka moving about in orbit.  The so called  
Laika image is identified by the red lines and it is shown enlarged.
 This Belka TV image made the
front pages of newspapers around the world in August 1960.  See below the Daily Mirror (from
England) for August 22, 1960, showing
Belka (Squirrel) and Strelka (Little Arrow).  Note - The
filmstrip also appears to have been flipped horizontally at some point because it differs with the
original Daily Mirror image of Belka (below).  
The point is, left or right, they are the same photo.
To the right is an
altered version
of the Belka
filmstrip image to
the left.  The
right image has
been
manipulated
within Windows
Paintbrush by
flipping it
horizontally.  
Both of these
pictures appear
on the WWW and
are mistakenly
identified  as a TV
shot of Laika.
THE ARGUMENT AGAINST TV FROM SPUTNIK-2
Remember, Sputnik-2 was a politically motivated, conjured up on short notice type of mission, designed
from a propaganda point of view to embarrass America, by putting up the first animal in orbit.  In the Fall of
1957, had there been any TV images of Laika, they certainly would have been plastered on the Front Page
of every newspaper in the world, just like the Belka and Strelka TV images were during early August 1960.  
As a serious Space Dog collector, and after exhaustive searching on ebay and the WWW, I can honestly tell
you that NO TV images appear in the press until the Belka and Strelka mission in 1960.  

Given, the Sputnik-2 design had severe
weight restrictions, and limited battery power.  The TRAL-D  
telemetry, which radioed Laika's vitals to earth, was timed "ON" for only 15 minutes per orbit in order to
save the battery.  Under these conditions, would the spacecraft designers have added TV too?  And the
Automatic Feeder was discarded in favor of one big OPEN tray of food, mainly to save weight and save the
electrical power required to operate the Automatic Feeder.

Further, all thinking about the construction of Sputnik-2 must pass through the filter of SIMPLE DESIGN
because it was thrown together in a few weeks with a deadline of early November.  Is it conceivable that a
TV system, not only the satellite camera and transmitter but also the ground receiver, could be built in just
three weeks?  In 1957,
compact transistor circuits were just emerging but still TV gear from that era was
big and heavy and demanded a lot of electrical power.  There wasn't time to build Sputnik-2 from scratch
and off-the-shelf components, example - Laika's short duration capsule, were used.  But in 1957, a portable
light weight TV system wasn't on the shelf to be used.  Anyway, there wouldn't have been room for a TV
camera within the tiny capsule, by todays state of art electronics, YES, but not in 1957.  
August 1960 - A real TV image of Belka from orbit
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NOTE - The console and man are a 2002 computer
generated sketch not connected with the flight.

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NOTE- This "TV Image" page was updated on Aug. 6, 2009 with my recent acquisition of the old Press photo
below which shows Belka (Left) and Strelka as televised from orbit.  I bought this
original Press photo on
ebay and the text clearly identifies Belka as the dog in the image.   The text also states,,,
"pictures were
taken by TV cameras in the space capsule,,,"
and "this was the first time such pictures from space had been
used to observe animals in cosmic flight".
  So, could this mean that back in 1957 there wasn't a TV camera
on Sputnik-2 with Laika?  Also, superimposed on the photo is a newspaper clipping showing the
shortwave
radio frequencies used for PDM telemetry return from Belka and Strelka.  I included this frequency
information relative to the radio part of this web page.  The 1950s and 1960s were truly
the Golden Age of
shortwave, when the radio bands were alive with all kinds of services and strange sounding signals.