Encouraged by the success of Sputnik 1, the Soviets decided that they should immediately follow up with a new space exploration achievement -in time for the 40th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The new spacecraft was six times heavier than Sputnik 1 and carried a dog, Laika (Barker), as its lone passenger. The entire vehicle was designed from scratch within four weeks, which gave engineers no time for testing or quality checks. The craft was successfully launched on November 3 1957, and Laika became the first animal to orbit earth. No plans had been made for Laika’s recovery, and she died long before Sputnik 2 reentered Earth’s atmosphere in April 1958.
Picture taken at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.