Laika (Russian: Лайка, meaning “Barker”; c. 1954 – November 3, 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth.
Laika was sent to the space because scientists believed humans would be unable to survive the launch or the conditions of outer space.So perhaps engineers viewed flights by animals as a necessary precursor to human missions.Laika had died soon after the launch.
With an identical aim,the Russia launched today a satellite carrying 100 odd living creatures including snails,lizards,mice,plants,seeds and loads of bactaria,according to reports..
“The Soyuz-2.1A rocket-carrier, carrying the Bion-M vehicle, was launched at 2 p.m. Moscow time (1000 GMT) from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan”, Xinhua reported.
“The rocket also placed six small communication satellites made in Germany, the US, and South Korea on a near-earth orbit at an average altitude of 575 km”,said India Today story based on Xinhua story.
It said quoting space agency Roscosmos that “6,300-kg Bion-M vehicle will return to Earth May 18 after over 70 experiments”
This is the first space flight of small animals and plants after a six-year break.