On November 3, 1957, Laika launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the second artificial Earth satellite (Sputnik-2). The dog stayed in zero gravity for several hours, making several turns around the earth. However, she died in orbit from suffocation and heat due to the heating of the spacecraft - the temperature there rose to 41 degrees. But the dog could not return to Earth in any case - then the mechanisms for a soft descent had not yet been worked out. Sputnik-2 burned up in the atmosphere on April 4, 1958.
The purpose of Laika's flight into space was to determine "the possibility of living creatures staying at altitudes up to 100-110 km after being thrown there with the help of rockets, followed by ejection and parachute descent". Despite her death, the experiment showed that living organisms are able to endure conditions of weightlessness.
In 1958, a granite column was erected in front of the Paris Society for the Protection of Dogs in memory of the animals killed in scientific experiments. Its top is crowned with a satellite directed upward, from which Laika's face peeps out. In Moscow, on the building of the laboratory of the GNII VM, where Laika was prepared for flight, a memorial plaque was unveiled in 1997, and in 2008 in front of the institute a monument was erected to the dog that was the first to travel into space.
The first dogs that were able to return from space were Belka and Strelka. On August 19, 1960, they departed from Baikonur on a satellite ship (Sputnik-5), a prototype of the Vostok spacecraft, on which Yuri Gagarin subsequently went into space. The dogs were in orbit for 25 hours. Then they safely returned to Earth, where they were placed in the aviary of the Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences. After a while, Strelka gave birth to six puppies. One of them, by order of Nikita Khrushchev, was presented to the wife of US President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline.
In total, 9 dogs visited space in the framework of research conducted by the USSR.