"Dogs of the Soviet Space Program" Additional Locket Images
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On November 3, 1957, just 30 days after the first ever man-made object entered into earth orbit, the Soviet Union launched a second "artificial moon." Born aloft by a proto-Vostok launch vehicle to an altitude of 934 miles, Sputnik II was not only substantially larger than its predecessor, but also differed in so far as it included a living being. This first earth-born creature to leave the earth was, of course, the famed Laika (barker), whose flight commanded the attention of the entire world. Between 1959 and 1961, 10 more dogs in 6 separate missions followed Laika's courageous example culminating in the flight of Zvezdochka (daughter of the stars), who made a single orbit flight in final preparation for April 12, 1961, when, proven tenable by the dogs, Yuri Gagarin was launched into space in the first human extra-terrestrial flight.
This set of tiny portraits honor Laika, Zvezdochka, and three other heroic canines - Belka, Strelka, and Ugolyok - and are designed to fit interchangeably within the glass locket necklace, available separately. The miniature portraits are photo-reproductions of oil paintings by M. A. Peers which are on display in the foyer of the Museum's Borzoi Kabinet Theater as part of the ongoing exhibition, The Lives of Perfect Creatures: Dogs of the Soviet Space Program. More information on the Space Dogs exhibit can be found here.
"All the Universe is full of the lives of perfect creatures." - K. E. Tsiolkovsky