On 3 November 1957, Laika became the first Earth-born creature to travel to space. Although she died a few hours after launch, subsequent canine travelers returned from their out-of-this-world missions alive. They became national heroes in the Soviet Union, with their images reproduced on cigarette packets, sweet-tins, stamps and postcards. As the new book Soviet Space Dogs is launched, here’s a look at canine space explorers in Soviet pop culture…
Children’s toy packaging from West Germany in the late 50s shows Laika, the first space dog.
A matchbox label from 1957 show Laika. The text translates as The First Sputnik Passenger – the dog Laika.
This postcard from 1960 shows Belka and Strelka in a photomontage by the artist Sveshnikov. The flags spell out Happy New Year.
This Zvezdochka Confectionery tin from 1961 shows a portrait of space dog Zvezdochka.
A portrait of Laika by the artist E. Gundobin is seen on a postcard, with the first three Sputniks in the background.
A postcard produced in Italy around 1960 shows an image of Kozyavka the space dog.
This photograph of Belka and Strelka was taken at the dogs’ first press conference in 1960 and printed onto a postcard.
A 1960 space propaganda poster by the artist K. Ivanov. The text translates as The way is open to man! and depicts Belka and Strelka.
Confectionery tins were used as propaganda too. This 1960 tin, given to guests of the New Year’s Eve party at the Kremlin, shows Belka and Strelka.
Illustrated by Yuri Galperin, this 1961 childrens book is titled The Adventures of Belka and Strelka.
A matchbox label from 1959 from the Borisovsky Works.
(Via: Nag on the Lake)