Preparing and Conducting the First Suborbital Flights with Dogs in the USSR: 1949–1951 (Based on the Documents from the Russian State Archive of Scientific and Technical Documentation)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Moscow, Ul. Dmitriya Ulyanova, 19
Journal nameVoprosy istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki
EditionVolume 41 1

This paper looks into the experience of preparing for and conducting the launchings of R-1 geophysical rockets carrying dogs in 1949–1951. A number of the historiographic clich é s (the descriptions of how the dogs were selected based on their weight, of the dogs’ clothing, and how the tests were conducted) became established in the history of cosmonautics over the past decades. Taking this into account, the paper attempts to reconstruct the microhistory of the making of aerospace medicine, based on the declassified reports prepared by the first space medics from NIIIAM (Scientific Research and Testing Institute of Aeromedicine of the USSR Armed Forces). The scientists were experimentally addressing the issues of the size of the pressurized cabin, equipment installed in the cabin, dog restraining systems, and the dog’s position in the cabin. The choice of animal species to use in the tests was also important: the dogs’ trainability was found to be more important research-wise than monkeys’ and apes’ genetic similarity to humans because it allowed to conduct tests without general anesthesia. In the USA, the monkeys used in similar experiments were sedated during the launchings to prevent the animals’ excessive anxiety, which, according to NIIIAM reports, watered down the information obtained from such experiments. It is described how the first static test firing with dogs and the actual launchings were conducted during the period from July 22 through September 3, 1951. The summaries of all of 6 flights are provided; it is emphasized that the causes of failed launchings and dogs’ deaths were associated with the shortcomings of rescue equipment the enhancement of which resulted in the creation of pressurized suits and ejection devices for dogs in 1953.

Keywordshistory of cosmonautics, space exploration in the USSR, launchings of geophysical rockets, space biology and medicine, bioastronautics, suborbital flights
Publication date25.03.2020
Number of characters38811
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 0, views: 888

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Abramov, I. P. etc. (comp.) (2005) Kosmicheskie skafandry Rossii [Russian Spacesuits]. Moskva: OAO Nauchno-proizvodstvennoe predpriiatie “Zvezda”.

2. Baturin, Iu. M. (ed.) (2008) Sovetskaia kosmicheskaia initsiativa v gosudarstvennykh dokumentakh. 1946–1964 gg. [Soviet Space Initiative in State Documents. 1946–1964]. Moskva: RTSoft.

3. Bochenkov, A. A., Egorov, V. A., Kopanev, V. I., and Lustin, S. I. (1989) Iz istorii razvitiia otechestvennoi aviatsionnoi i kosmicheskoi meditsiny [From the History of Russian Aviation and Space Medicine]. Leningrad: Nauchnyi sovet po kosmicheskim issledovaniiam dlia narodnogo khoziaistva AN SSSR.

4. Bukhtiiarov, I. V., Ushakov, I. B., Bednenko, V. S., and Khomenko, M. N. (2011) Rol’ GNIII aviatsionnoi i kosmicheskoi meditsiny MO SSSR v podgotovke pervogo poleta cheloveka v kosmos [The Role of the Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine of the USSR Ministry of Defense in the Preparation for the First Manned Spaceflight], Kosmicheskii al’manakh. Istoriko-khudozhestvennoe prilozhenie k zhurnalu “Aviakosmicheskaia i ekologicheskaia meditsina”, no. 12.4, pp. 3–13.

5. Burgess, C., and Dubbs, C. (2007) Animals in Space. From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle. Chichester, UK: Praxis Publishing.

6. Chebola, A. A., Stroganova, K. A., and Filimonova, V. A. (2014) Istoriia vivariia IMBP [The History of the Vivarium at the Institute of Biomedical Problems], Kosmicheskii al’manakh. Istoriko-khudozhestvennoe prilozhenie k zhurnalu “Aviakosmicheskaia i ekologicheskaia meditsina”, no. 16, pp. 59–62.

7. Iazdovskii, V. I. (1996) Na tropakh Vselennoi. Vklad kosmicheskoi biologii i meditsiny v osvoenie kosmicheskogo prostranstva [On the Paths of the Universe. The Contribution of Space Biology and Medicine to Space Exploration]. Moskva: Slovo.

8. Ponomarenko, V. A. (2014) Voodushevlennyi mir truda v podnebes’e [The Inspired World of Labor in the Sky]. Moskva: Kogito-Tsentr.

9. Shaposhnikov, A. S. (ed.) (2011) Chelovek. Korabl’. Kosmos: sbornik dokumentov k 50-letiiu poleta v kosmos Iu. A. Gagarina [Man. Spaceship. Space: A Collection of Documents in Commemoration of the 50 th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s Spaceflight].Moskva: Novyi khronograf.

10. Ushakov, I. B. (ed.) (2001) Istoriia otechestvennoi kosmicheskoi meditsiny (po materialam voenno-meditsinskikh uchrezhdenii) [The History of Russian Space Medicine (Based on Materials of the Military Medical Institutions)]. Moskva and Voronezh: Voronezhskii gosudarstvennyi universitet.

11. Ushakov, I. B. (ed.) (2007) Osnovy aviatsionnoi i kosmicheskoi meditsiny [The Foundations of Aviation and Space Medicine]. Moskva: Slovo.

Система Orphus