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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Man's Best Pioneers 
Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 | 12:54 pm [astronomy, history, science]
Thanks to those clever folks over there at Wikipedia, I learned that on this date in 1960 the Soviet Union sent two dogs — Belka and Strelka — into outer space, where they orbited the Earth for a day and then returned safely to the surface.  Belka and Strelka were not the first space dogs — the Soviets sent Laiki off on an orbital flight three years earlier, but she didn't make it back alive (insufficient oxygen supply).

Belka and Strelka, along with the rabbit, two rats, and three and a half dozen mice that accompanied them, were the first animals to orbit the Earth and return alive.  Strelka even went on to have puppies, one of which — Pushinka — was presented to a young Caroline Kennedy by Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev in 1961.  How's that for detente?

The Soviets being the Soviets, however, couldn't leave well enough alone.  It turns out that after she died, they had ol' Strelka stuffed.  After the fall of the U.S.S.R. in the early 1990s, Russia sent Strelka's taxidermized corpse on a world tour.  That's her in that photo on the right, taken on the Australia leg of her circuit, stuffed with sawdust and sitting pretty.  What a good stuffed space dog.
Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 | 01:06 am (UTC)
They took a once-living being to a taxidermist and had it stuffed? What kind of diseased mind would even CONCEIVE of such a thing?!
Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 | 01:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm trying out openID. We'll see how this works out.
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