Dogs in Space: The Amazing True Story of Belka and Strelka


July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It's an exciting opportunity and doorway for connecting our children to science and technology and how they can be a part of making a difference in the world. Sometimes you need an ambassador or two when you're headed into uncharted territory and this book is the perfect ambassador to guide you there.

Before man or woman went to space there were fruit flies and chimpanzees and dogs who felt the pull of some major G forces.   Some survived their missions and returned to Earth but some were lost.  Here is the story of a pair of dogs who went from surviving on the streets of Moscow to surviving in a spaceship orbiting our planet.

It was a dark and gloomy night and the dogs were running wild in the backstreets of Moscow searching the trash cans for scraps of food.  It's 1951 and the space program was just getting off the ground in what was then the U.S.S. R.   On this particular night Oleg, a scientist at Moscow's Space Center, was searching the streets for dogs who would have the "right stuff" to be send on one of the most daring and pioneering space rides ever.

That night Oleg found two strays who seemed to be calm and confident.  He took them back to the Space Center to be tested and nine years later, in 1960, the two strays, named Belka and Strelka, were rocketed into space to orbit the Earth.

How do you train two stray dogs to go into space?  What kind of spacesuit would a dog wear?  How did Belka and Strelka act in space? Were they scared?  Were they curious?

This is a gently told story about a moment in history when the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were racing each other to explore the world beyond our own planet Earth.   There's nothing like a pair of dogs to bring something as challenging as a journey into space down to the level and understanding of our children.  This one will spark the imaginations  as readers and listeners consider the risks and the unknowns and get a glimpse of  the rivalry between the nations during the Cold War.

32 pages 978-1610678247 Ages 5-9

Keyword:  science; space, Russia, dogs, science experiments, animals, history, STEM

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,


Meet Belka and Strelka, two stray dogs from Moscow who, in1960, became the first animals to orbit Earth and return home safely. Including additional information about the space race and other animals in orbit, this is an ideal STEM title for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.--from the publisher


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