On November 10th, 1957, a Russian cosmonaut named Laika made history as the first living creature in space. Launched into orbit aboard Sputnik 2, "Laika the dog" was soon given a nickname by American news reporters: "Muttnik."

[Russia's successful launch of Sputnik I (on August 26th, 1957) took America by surprise. Indeed, the United States raced to answer the challenge. Its first satellite, however, rose only a few feet and crashed. Among the nicknames for the doomed mission? Kaputnik.]

[Shortly after the Russian cosmodogs Strelka and Belka returned from space in 1960, one of Strelka's puppies was given to JFK as a gift.]

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