Manned space flight

Yuri Gagarin – poster boy of manned space flight

To an observant outsider, the Soviets might have appeared to have developed an oddly intolerant attitude towards stray dogs. Every so often throughout the late 1950s, a fresh pack of homeless mongrel bitches was picked off the streets of Moscow and transported to a remote region of Kazakhstan, where they were promptly strapped into the nose of a ballistic missile and fired into space. If they survived till re-entry, they would likely be blown up by a remotely detonated on-board bomb designed to prevent their earthbound remains from falling into enemy territory. It was, as the phrase goes, a dog’s life. This elaborate and rather costly method of canine population