A brilliant 1987 film, notably starring Michael Hutchence of INXS. Follows a group of animals (errr... a band called 'Dogs in Space') living a life of punk rock, liqour, heroin and intravenous adreneline. Directed by Richard Lowenstein. Pretty gritty, but satellites still get a mention! If you missed the Hutchence burning star while he was alive, check this out - he's at his prime.

From the years 1957 to 1966 in preparation for human space travel Russia (USSR) launched 13 dogs into Space. Through these flights Russia was able to gather scientific data which led to the first successful manned orbit of the Earth. At least seven countries have honored these unwilling canine space pioneers with stamps including Russia, Romania, Poland, Mongolia, North Korea and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Canine Cosmonauts:

  • Laika: Sputnik 2; November 3, 1957 Female Siberian Husky mutt. She died after the power source to the satellites life-support ran down. Sputnik 2 returned to Earth April 14, 1958, burned up on reentry.
  • Bars "Lynx" and Lisichka "little fox": July 28, 1960 The boosters exploded and both dogs were killed on take-off.
  • Belka "Squirrel" and Strelka "Little arrow": Sputnik 5; August 19, 1960 These were the first dogs to be recovered alive. When Strelka later had a litter of puppies then President Kennedy received one as a gift.
  • Pchelka "Little bee" and Mushka "Little Fly": Sputnik 6; December 1, 1960 Retrofire burn was performed incorrectly and the capsule's reentery angle was too steep; both dogs died.
  • Damka "Little Lady" and Krasavka "Beauty" Korable Sputnik; December 22, 1960
    The dogs were recovered after a suborbital flight after the failure of Sputniks upper stage rocket boosters.
  • Chernushka "Blackie": Sputnik 9; March 9, 1961
    Co-piloted by mice and a guinea pig, a one orbit mission.
  • Zvezdochka "Little Star", named by cosmonaut Yuri Gagrin: Sputnik 10; March 25, 1961
    Orbited the Earth once. (Preparation for Gagrins Vostok 1 mission)
  • Verterok "Breeze" and Ugolyok "Little piece of coal": Kosmos 110, February 22, 1966
    Orbited for 22 days, progress monitored via video and biomedical telemetry. Landed March 16, 1966 and remains the canine space flight record. The human record did not surpass them until Skylab in June 1974!

Sources: enchantedlearning.com; nytimes.com; ham.spa.umn.edu; community-2.webtv.net; spacetoday.org and silverdalen.se/stamps/dogs/index.htm

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