Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Space Travel News .




STATION NEWS
Belka and Strelka, the canine cosmonauts
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 20, 2014


The dogs became big stars. They faced a press conference the day after landing, and appeared on television a few days later. Footage of their somersaults in weightlessness was also shown - Strelka rigid in apprehension, and Belka rolling and tossing with joyful barks. The dogs became household names, and sent children into ecstasy as they toured schools and kindergartens. Belka and Strelka did not make any further space flights, but lived at the Space Research Institute in honored retirement to an advanced age.

Space capsules with animals on board preceded manned space flights, with the first experiments on mammals in spacecraft taking place as early as 1948, leading, in time, to the flight of the two most famous animal space passengers: Belka and Strelka.

The dogs were chosen from among many animals after much consideration; biologists had long used them for tests, and knew their physiology in detail. Additionally, dogs were the easiest animals to train.

The first dog space crews were formed of stray mongrels: tough yet grateful, they knew what the struggle for survival was all about, and were quick to make friends with people.

The dogs were tested and trained at the Research Institute of Aviation Medicine in a red-brick building of the abandoned former Mauritania hotel just behind Dynamo Stadium north of central Moscow. Small animals weighing 6-7 kilos (13-15 lbs) were selected were selected for the first missions, because spaceships could not carry heavy payloads.

The first eligible passengers, aged two to six, had exemplary health and immunity to diseases and harsh environments, and had benign and patient dispositions. Females were preferred because their hygienic suits were easier to make.

Potential publicity mattered no less than scientific expediency, and so healthy, light-colored dogs, with clever looking faces were selected so that they would look good when televised or photographed for cover stories.

The training for short rocket flights and longer satellite expeditions started with the space suits. The dogs got accustomed to the protective and hygienic suits. Then, they learned to eat from an automated feeding system that used a conveyor belt to deliver food boxes on a schedule. The most difficult part was training the dogs to get used to confinement for up to three weeks, which was done using isolated cubicles.

The dogs also had to exercise, use the centrifuge, and be trained for the pod ejection process. The training finished with comprehensive tests, during which the dogs stayed in a sealed capsule for many days and were exposed to simulated adversities they could encounter during a space flight.

The first dog crew was launched at the Kapustin Yar space center on July 22, 1951. All told, there were 29 flights with dogs to the stratosphere at a height of 100-150 km (60-90 miles) between July 1951 and September 1962. Eight of them ended tragically due to hull breaches, parachute failures or life-support system failures.

The first returnable space vehicle with a comprehensive life-support system was built early in 1960, but the first flight ended in a crash.

The second, triumphant launch was made at the Baikonur space center at 3:44 pm on August 19, 1960, to study the space ray effect on animals and test air, food and water supply and waste disposal systems. The satellite weighed 4,600 kilos (more than 10,000 lbs), not including the carrier rocket, and consisted of a tight landing section and equipment bay.

Compressed gas containers for trajectory adjustment, jet engines, gauges, aerials, temperature regulators and solar batteries that turned toward the Sun automatically were all attached to the outside.

The two canine passengers - Belka and Strelka (whose names meant "Squirrel" and "Arrow") - wore their own space suits, one red and the other green. There were a dozen caged mice, insects, plants, fungi, microbe cultures, corn, wheat grains, peas and onions with them in the ejection pod, whose instruments recorded their physical state throughout the flight. More animals - 28 mice and two rats - were traveling in the landing section outside the capsule.

The equipment bay was doomed to burn in the dense atmosphere during reentry, while the ejection pod and landing section had separate parachutes to reduce the speed to 6-8 and 10 meters/second (20-26 and 33 feet/second), respectively.

The landing section had heat-resistant windows and tight rapid-opening hatches. The pod was ejected through a hatch at a height of about 7-8 km (4-5 miles) above the ground, as triggered by the barometer gauges.

The landing section returned to the appointed spot on August 20, 1960. All the animals were safe and sound. The world's first cosmonauts spent 25 hours in space, circling the Earth 17 times and bringing home valuable information on the impact of space flight on animal physiology, genes and cells.

The dogs became big stars. They faced a press conference the day after landing, and appeared on television a few days later. Footage of their somersaults in weightlessness was also shown - Strelka rigid in apprehension, and Belka rolling and tossing with joyful barks.

The dogs became household names, and sent children into ecstasy as they toured schools and kindergartens. Belka and Strelka did not make any further space flights, but lived at the Space Research Institute in honored retirement to an advanced age.

Pushok, one of Strelka's many puppies, was Jackie Kennedy's pet.

.


Related Links
Roscosmos
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





STATION NEWS
Orbital cargo ship makes planned re-entry to Earth
Washington (AFP) Aug 17, 2014
Orbital Sciences Corporation's unmanned Cygnus cargo ship disintegrated as planned Sunday as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere after a month-long resupply mission to the International Space Station. The spacecraft had been released from the orbiting lab on Friday at 6:40 am (1040 GMT), and then stayed in independent orbit for two days, before firing its engines and pushing into Earth's atmosp ... read more


STATION NEWS
Sea Launch Takes Proactive Steps to Address Manifest Gap

SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

Optus 10 delivered to French Guiana for Ariane 5 Sept launch

Aerojet Rocketdyne Supports Fifth Successful Launch in Six Weeks

STATION NEWS
Mars Rover Team Chooses Not to Drill 'Bonanza King'

Indian orbiter to reach Mars in 33 days

Mars thigh bone is really just a rock spotted by Curiosity

Curiosity Mars Rover Prepares for Fourth Rock Drilling

STATION NEWS
Electric Sparks May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

China to test recoverable moon orbiter

China to send orbiter to moon and back

August supermoon will be brightest this year

STATION NEWS
From Pinpoint of Light to a Geologic World

New Horizons Spies Charon Orbiting Pluto

ALMA telescope sizes up Pluto's orbit

Putting It All Together

STATION NEWS
Rotation of Planets Influences Habitability

Planet-like object may have spent its youth as hot as a star

Young binary star system may form planets with weird and wild orbits

Hubble Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets

STATION NEWS
NASA Engineers Begin Testing for SLS Liquid Oxygen Feed System

Ride Shotgun With NASA Saucer As It Flies to Near Space

'Impossible' engine may actually work, NASA engineers suggest

Federal auditors say NASA doesn't have funds for big rocket

STATION NEWS
China Sends Remote-Sensing Satellite into Orbit

More Tasks for China's Moon Mission

China's Circumlunar Spacecraft Unmasked

China to launch HD observation satellite this year

STATION NEWS
As Seen by Rosetta: Comet Surface Variations

Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from interstellar space

Colliding Atmospheres: Mars vs Comet Siding Spring

NASA's 3-D Study of Comets Reveals Chemical Factory at Work




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.