1957-11-03 USSR Sputnik 2

The launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviets took the world by surprise. The Soviet Union received an additional boost in prestige one month later when it orbited Sputnik 2 with a dog, named Laika, aboard.

Sputnik 2 was the second spacecraft launched into Earth orbit by the Russian on November 3, 1957. It was the first to carry a living animal in orbit - a dog, named Laika. This cover was produced by Kniga with a backdated 3 November 1957 Moscow postmark.

Sputnik 2 was a 4-meter (13 foot) high cone-shaped capsule with a base diameter of 2 meters (6.6 feet). It contained several compartments for radio transmitters, a telemetry system, a programming unit, a regeneration and temperature control system for the cabin, and scientific instruments. A separate sealed cabin contained the dog Laika. The pressurized cabin on Sputnik 2 allowed enough room for her to lie down or stand and was padded. An air regeneration system provided oxygen; food and water were dispensed in a gelatinized form. Laika was fitted with a harness, a bag to collect waste, and electrodes to monitor vital signs.

Early telemetry indicated Laika was agitated but eating her food. It was believed Laika survived for only a few hours instead of the planned ten days because of the heat. This post card shows a special postmark to commemorate the third anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 2.
Hand-sketch of Laika on plain cover with a special postmark to commemorate Sputnik 2 orbital decay and atmospheric re-entry after approximately 2000 Earth orbits.
A set of four stamps with the same design but different denominations were issued for Sputnik 2. This cover was affixed with a Sputnik-2 stamp.