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BBC Documentaries: Season 2009

2009x139 Space Dogs

  • 2009-07-12T20:00:00Z on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest

In the years after the second world war, in preparation for sending the first man into orbit, the Soviets began sending dogs into space.

Featuring unique archival footage, including that of the first 'dog flight' into space taken inside the capsule, this documentary tells the secret history of dog cosmonautics in Russia. Alongside famous dog cosmonauts Belka and Strelka were a large team of other test dogs. All the characteristics of weightlessness on a living organism were tested on these defenseless creatures given up for the conquest of space.

The programme cost more than 20 dogs' lives and each loss was a personal blow to the trainer. As the relationship between the men and dogs developed, scientists began to treat them as colleagues and true companions and to this day, Russian scientists keep photographs of their departed four-legged friends.