Laika Memorial - No Bones By Request
Have you heard of Laika the space dog? Laika, a word meaning ‘bark’ in Russian, and is also a breed of dog, is hand-written on this sad memorial to this little four-legged ‘quiet and charming’ astronaut. This is a framed newspaper article from the early 1960’s.
In 1957, the Russians sent a dog into space, her name was Laika. Here’s her story:
Laika was a young, part-Samoyed terrier found as a stray in Moscow. She was chosen as the Soviet scientists believed a homeless animal would be better equipped to endure the cold, hunger and harsh conditions of space travel. However, with inadequate oxygen and food supplies, Laika’s death in space was expected from the outset of the mission.
In their training before the launch, the canine candidates were placed in a series of demanding endurance trials and medical examinations. Among other tests, scientists examined how the animals would cope in the distressingly cramped space capsule. Laika and two other dogs (Albina and Mushka) were placed in increasingly smaller cages over several weeks. With her calm temperament and grace under pressure, Laika was chosen. Vladimir Yazdovsky, the leader of the Soviet space mission, described Laika as “quiet and charming.”
Laika’s spacecraft, Sputnik 2 was fitted with a variety of innovative devices to keep her alive. There was an oxygen generator which absorbed carbon dioxide, a heat-activated fan to regulate the temperature and the capsule was stocked with enough food to keep the dog alive for seven days.
There are conflicting accounts of Laika’s death in space. The Soviet Union initially suggested she had died when the oxygen levels depleted or that she had been deliberately ‘put to sleep’ with poisoned food. In 1999 several Russian sources (such as the scientists involved in the space programme) stated that Laika had died on the fourth orbit of the Earth after a failure in Sputnik 2’s temperature controls. On 14 April 1958 (after approximately 2,570 orbits), Sputnik 2 and Laika’s remains left orbit and disintegrated on re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
In 2008, nearly 50 years after the historic flight, a monument to Laika was finally installed outside Star City, a military facility in Russia where she was trained for her trip. The statue resembles a rocket that merges into a hand, launching Laika into space.
Taken from: https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/topics/what-was-first-animal-space
This newspaper memorial to Laika is sadly undated but has signs of age and the language suggests it dates from around the 1960’s. The piece was written by ‘Cassandra’, a pseudonym for Sir William Neil Connor (26 April 1909 – 6 April 1967) who was an English journalist for The Daily Mirror.
There appears to be water damage within the frame and the contents, previously in another frame, have been removed and reframed. The frame is wooden with a gold edging and measures approx. 44cm x 34cm. The glass is non reflective and the frame is in good condition.
‘One small, beating heart, two luminous eyes, a plump little body and four paws were buried alive in the heavens. Stars all around. A pale moon and a shroud of empty, silent nothingness.’
Product Code : 1696
Weight : 1.1kg