Sputnik replica launched, first space dog honored

November 3, 1997

Found at http://cnn.com/TECH/9711/03/mir
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Solovyov and Vinogradov began Monday's mission with a symbolic gesture, putting into orbit a replica of the Soviet Sputnik, the world's first orbiting satellite, which was launched 40 years ago last month.


Russian and French children helped make the satellite, which is one-third the size of the original, itself only about as big as a beachball. While Russian engineers constructed the exterior of the replica, the children built the transmitter inside.

The cosmonauts launched the satellite into orbit by simply pushing it out into space. It will trail behind Mir in the same orbit.

About the time the spacewalk ended, a memorial was unveiled in Moscow in honor of Laika, the dog who gave her life for the Soviet space program.

Exactly 40 years after she was blasted into orbit aboard the Soviet Sputnik 2, becoming the first living creature in space, Laika was remembered on a plaque at the Moscow research center where she was trained.

On November 3, 1957, just 30 days after the launch of the first Sputnik announced the Soviet lead in the space race to a stunned Western world, Laika was strapped into Sputnik 2 and launched into eternity.

To howls of protest from animal lovers in the West, Soviet officials said Laika, a stray rounded up from the streets, died after a week in orbit when her air ran out.

However, Western researchers have said she likely roasted to death when Sputnik 2's heat shields came away as it settled into its Earth orbit. It burned up on re-entry 163 days later.

Correspondent John Holliman, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.