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Space Dog Lives

The first living mammal to be sent into space was ‘a shaggy little Husky’ called Laika, who also became known as Curly. This story came just a month after the Soviet Union also became the first country to put a satellite in space, which the Daily Express reported with the headline 'Space Age Is Here'.

Image from Daily Mail, 4 November 1957  
Daily Mail, 4 November 1957   Daily Express, 5 October 1957
The British Library gratefully acknowledges the John Frost Newspaper Archive for permission to reproduce this front page.

On the Daily Mail front page, artist Arthur Pugh helps to explain the conditions and journey Curly endured through several detailed diagrams. Orbiting 1,000 miles above the Earth, she was constantly monitored and fed through a nozzle around her mouth. However, despite a planned James Bond-style escape and this positive headline, poor Curly was in fact condemned to die from the start. Animal lovers throughout the world protested while Moscow Radio lamely explained, ‘We in Russia love dogs, too, but the dog in space is a real hero’.

At the time, the Soviet Union insisted that Curly had survived for as long as a week, but it has since become known that she probably died after just a few hours. Her capsule orbited the Earth over 2,500 times and finally burned up in the atmosphere on 4th April 1958. It was only a year later, in 1959, that two monkeys became the first animals to actually survive a space flight.

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