The triumphal flight of two dogs, Belka and Srelka, is widely known in the history of space exploration. But there were their predecessors, who paved the way to space and are now almost forgotten.
In 1946, the Soviet Union, barely recovering from the Second World War, adopted a program for the development of the country’s rocket and space industry. In addition to military-strategic tasks, scientists were required to verify the possibility of sending a person into space. But as in medicine, in the rocket and space industry, they first decided to conduct experiments on dogs.
The Americans chose the chimpanzee as the kind of animal closest to humans. And in the USSR, experts preferred the man’s best friends. According to the legend, the Soviet leaders believed that people liked dogs more than other mammals, so the dog-hero would glorify the Soviet Union quickly than a rat or a monkey. But it was not so.