Saturday, 11 July 2015
Let's hear it for Laika, the first animal in space, chosen from a pack of candidates because she was compliant and photogenic. A few days before launch one of the engineers took her home to play with his kids because he knew it would be her one last chance for joy.
On the tarmac her launch was delayed for 3 days after being sealed in the capsule. She had enough food and the scientists pumped warm air in there through a hose to stop her freezing overnight.
Her heart rate was monitored and jumped four-fold during launch. She died from heat exhaustion about 5 hours after launch.