Monument to Belka and Strelka in Tomilino
On June 26, 2017, in Tomilino, near Moscow, in the park of fairy tales, a monument to two dogs, the famous Belka and Strelka, was unveiled. They fly in near-Earth orbit after the first satellite. At the base of the “orbit” is a bas-relief image of the village itself.
The fact is that it is here that the Zvezda enterprise is located, which (among other things) produces space suits. They also say that Belka and Strelka also come from Tomilino – they, like several other mongrels, were caught here and enrolled in the “dog detachment of astronauts.”
The author of the monument is the sculptor Alexander Rozhnikov.
He did not create sculptural copies of real dogs, but took their images from the cartoon “Squirrel and Strelka. Star Dogs” as a basis. At first they planned to erect a monument next to the “Star”, but then they decided to “settle” them all the same in a forest park, since Rozhnikov wanted the children to like it first of all.
Squirrel and Strelka are pseudonyms, in fact the dogs were called Drop and Vilna.
They are not the first living creatures to have been in space. The first was Laika (see the monument to the dog Laika). But they were the first to return to Earth alive. They spent a whole day in orbit, making 17 orbits around the Earth.
The special service that selected the dogs for the flight had very strict criteria: age – 3-4 years, weight – up to 5 kg, height – up to 35 cm. They must be mongrels (pedigreeds are more difficult to adapt to changing environmental conditions), light-colored (to look more contrast on the monitor screen) and necessarily female (it was easier for them to develop a sewage device).
On the 4th turn, Belka began to behave nervously, trying to free herself from the fastening straps. It was because of this behavior, the causes of which could not be clarified, that it was decided to limit the first human flight to one orbit.