On Nov. 3, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2, a one-way, history-making trip for a dog named Laika.
Laika, a stray picked up off the streets of Moscow, became the first living creature to orbit the Earth.
Her heart rate soared and within hours — not days as the Soviet Union led the world to believe — she died of overheating and stress, the BBC reported in 2002 after new evidence was revealed at the World Space Congress.
Laika and two other dogs, Albina and Mushka, underwent training prior to launch, including high-altitude flights and being kept in smaller and smaller cages. Laika was not just her name, but also what Russians called a northern breed known for their endurance. The “laikas” are also known as Karelian Bear Dogs, according to the American Kennel Club, and remains one of the most popular breeds in Finland, where it originated.