The dogs Belka and Strelka were sent into space and helped Russia to launch their manned missions. No means were available then to return these two little beauties to Earth, but they are proudly remembered.
On November 3rd, 1957 the first animal in orbit was Laika, the Russian space dog. She flew aboard Sputnik 2 and died during the flight. The Soviets flew 10 more dogs on that program until April 12, 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in orbit. (Belka and Strelka were the first mammals to be successfully returned to the Earth after orbital flight in 1960.)
Before Yuri Gagarin became the first human in outer space, numerous animals gave their lives for science in the often cruel and stressful tests of space flight. The first creatures to survive a 24 hour ordeal orbiting earth in a space craft were two spirited dogs named Belka and Strelka. All of the Soviet space dogs, including Belka and Strelka, were strays rounded up from the streets and put under various stress tests to see which were suitable for flight. It also helped to be cute and…
Cosmonaut Museum | Atlas Obscura | The museum (also known as Memorial Museum of Astronautics) celebrates the history of Russia's 20th-century space travel achievements, with around 85,000 items on space technology, astronomy, and space travel. There are also taxidermy space dogs, including Belka and Strelka. The museum is contained in the base of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space.