Laika by Nick Abadzis

A month ago I made a pilgrimage to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. If for some reason you have never made this visit, you owe it to yourself to do so (if for no other reason than you can see SpaceShipOne hanging right next to the Spirit of St. Louis ;).

Buried somewhere in the second floor is a small exhibit about animals that have traveled to space. And while the focus is on the primates that traveled in American missions, I suddenly had the urge to explore the life of Laika, the first earthling to orbit Earth.

Fortunately for me, the NASM gift shop had a copy of Laika, a comic by Nick Abadzis about this brave little dog.

Laika is a fascinating and quick read, and moreover it is clear that Abadzis has done his research. The book begins at Laika's birth, following her hard-knock life through abandonment, capture, training, and launch. But perhaps the most interesting piece of the story is the political background, delving into the specific timeline of Sputnik launches and the US/USSR rivalry.

It's a highly recommended read.

P.S. I'd love to hear if anyone out there has read the similarly themed comic about Ham, the US space chimp. Leave your comments on this post.

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