November 3rd, 1957
On this day exactly 60 years ago, the Soviet Space Program sent the Sputnik II into orbit.
Inside was the first astronaut in history, an 11lb street dog named Laika.
She fit all their requirements: docile, quiet, intelligent, and photogenic. She became the first cosmonaut to orbit the earth, but died in within hours of launch from overheating and stress.
Her sacrifice proved that living things could survive the launch and orbit around the earth, and led to the beginning of the human-test missions into space.
The scientists kissed her nose when they bade her farewell, asking for forgiveness, as they knew she would never return.