February 28, 1957
A photo is taken of Laika, a Russian dog sent into space for testing purposes
Laika was sent into space to monitor the reactions of low gravity on living organisms. The caption accompanying the photo reads: “Laika, who became the first space traveler from Earth, is pictured in her capsule aboard Sputnik II previous to launch; she perished after orbiting the planet for seven days.”
The official story at the time, as demonstrated by the caption, was that Laika died in orbit several days after her launch, either by starvation or having exhausted her oxygen reserves. However, Laika died within hours of launch on November 3, 1957 due to overheating. This information was made public in 2002.