HT This Day: Nov 13, 1957 -- Russian space dog ‘still alive’

Published on Nov 07, 2022 06:00 PM IST

The Soviet Prime Minister and one of Soviet Union’s leading scientists yesterday gave their answers to the world-wide question whether Laika, space dog, is still alive.

HT This Day: Nov 13, 1957 -- Russian space dog ‘still alive’
HT This Day: Nov 13, 1957 -- Russian space dog ‘still alive’
By, Moscow

The Soviet Prime Minister and one of Soviet Union’s leading scientists yesterday gave their answers to the world-wide question whether Laika, space dog, is still alive.

Mr Bulganin told correspondents that the dog was alive on Sunday. But Mr Dimitri Vladimirovich Skabeltsin, Chief of the Soviet Institute of Physics. shook his grey head and said: “By now the dog must be dead.”

Mr Bulganin told correspondents, at a Swedish Embassy party celebrating King Gustav’s birthday that the dog was still alive Asked if there were any plans to bring Laika back to each, he said: “It is too technical a question.” Would there be any more Sputniks? he was asked.

USA’S TURN

“Let the Americans send one up now it is their turn,” he said.

Questioned on flights to the moon, Mr Bulganin. in jovial mood said he had received many letters from volunteers including two young American women aged 24 and 23.

“They said they were young. healthy, beautiful and possessed all other good qualities and asked for two places to be reserved for them on the first moon rocket.”

Mr Bulganin was unwilling to divulge their names “in case they are seeking publicity.”

He said he saw the first Sputnik without optical aids early in the morning of November 6.

“It looked like a star flashing across the sky,” he said.

Correspondents estimated that a good hour at the reception was devoted :o high level discussion about the dog and Sputniks present and future.

Yesterday’s communique on the Sputnik issued by Tass, again avoided all reference to the animal. This official reticence is regarded as the nearest to confirmation that Laika, having served Soviet science, is dead.

Prof. Skabeltsin, when questioned by correspondents at the reception, said: “I think she is dead. I do not know for certain-but by now the dog must be dead.”

Asked by a reporter: “Is there any intention to bring it back?” Prof. Skabeltsin said: “This is quite a different problem. I am not sure there is any way to get her back.”

In answer to other questions, he said Sputnik II was sent so high because “it is more interesting up there.”

When a reporter said the equipment inside such large rocket had been expected to last longer, Prof Skabeltsin said: “I think seven days is long enough to get back such information-it is a very difficult and complex thing.”

(He meant getting coded information back from the Sputnik at so high an altitude.) Prof. Skabeltsin said he had not heard of the U S. success in solving the complicated question of re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere of a high-altitude rocket. President Eisenhower announced this achievement last week.

After expressing great interest in President Eisenhower’s speech, i Prof. Skabeltsin asked: “ What has been returned-how was it brought down?”

PROPER WAY

Prof. Skabeltsin ended up by approving competition of science, not of arms-between the U.S.A. and Russia. He said: “ That’s the proper way to do it.”

Earlier. rumours quoting authoritative sources said that Laika died on Friday but that measurements continued of cosmic ray and other space influences until the breakdown of the Sputnik s electrical system.

Mr Bulganin said Sputnik II’s batteries lasted only one week compared with the three weeks of the first satellite because the second ‘ was loaded with much more scientific equipment. “

“It drained it’s power supply at a much faster rate.” he said.

He confirmed Soviet reports that scientists planned only seven days of measurements from Sputnik II but denied foreign suggestions that the scientists only planned a seven-day life for Laika.

Rumour is circulating in Moscow that the Soviet space dog, Laika, has landed somewhere in Russia and is now being sought by search parties, the Moscow correspondent of the Swedish communist newspaper, Nyadag, reported yesterday, according to a Stockholm report.

The Baltimore Sun, reported yesterday that the dog in Sputnik II had been catapulted out and landed 30 miles from Moscow. But it was not known whether it was alive or dead.

The newspaper said the report was from its Moscow bureau and from a source “known to have given reliable advance tips in the past.”

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