Cross Currents in Russian Literature, Film and Music
Saturday, November 3, 2012
On this day in 1957 Laika was launched into space. The perky young female, only 3 years old, was originally named Kudryavka, on account of her curly hair, but I suppose Laika was easier to wrap your tongue around. Laika underwent rigorous training for her flight aboard Sputnik 2. For decades the Soviets held up Laika as a symbol of their space program, which Viktor Pelevin poked fun at in Omon Ra. But, even he didn't know at the time of his writing that Laika hadn't survived her space odyssey. Information wasn't released until 2002 that Laika died of asphyxiation, when her oxygen ran out on board. Laika has been honored on postage stamps around the world.