…some Soviet space dogs survived and went on to live relatively normal lives. The next mutts launched into orbit—Belka and Strelka—landed safely, and became beloved pop stars at a time when the USSR frowned on celebrating individual achievements. Laika, Belka, Strelka, and other publicized dog cosmonauts symbolized the ultimate Soviet heroism, seen as simple creatures laying down their lives for their country and the advancement of science. Everything from stamps and postal covers to toys, children’s books, cigarette packages, and candy tins featured these furry icons.
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