Dog watch

For the first time, Vladimir Yazdovskiy and his biomedical staff were able to visually observe dogs during a flight. Two television cameras beamed back to Earth front and side views of the dogs. What the first images revealed, however, was not encouraging. The dogs appeared to be frozen in place. Only the medical information streaming in from telemetry assured the staff that the dogs were still alive. As with Laika, in Sputnik 2, the pulse rates of both Belka and Strelka had nearly tripled during the acceleration of launch. These indicators were now very slowly returning to normal.

After a few orbits, the dogs finally began to move. Belka became extremely agitated, barking and trying to tear loose from her restraining harness. Finally, on the fourth orbit, she vomited, then settled down. Yazdovskiy, watching the behaviour of the dogs on the TV monitor, would later report to the State Commission that a manned flight be limited to just one orbit, because there were still too many unknowns about the effects of weightlessness [2].

An onboard TV camera beamed back this image of Belka during the flight of Korabl-Sputnik 2. It took several orbits for her to adjust to the feeling of weightlessness. (Photo: authors' collections)

Despite a problem with the orientation system, after 25 hours the satellite successfully re-entered the atmosphere on the 18th orbit, the catapult system ejected the dog cabin and the dogs parachuted back to Earth some 124 miles from the planned recovery site near the city of Orsk. A recovery team headed by Arvid Pallo arrived on the scene quickly and released the dogs from their cabin. As Pallo described it, "They began to run about and jump high in the air and were visibly pleased to be back on Earth" [2].

Belka (left) and Strelka, the dogs that flew aboard Korabl-Sputnik 2, the first orbital flight of living beings successfully returned to Earth. (Photo: authors' collections)
Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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