The Six Beings Who Have Died In Space

by tophtucker

Six beings have died in space (i.e., above 100 km):

1957: Laika (dog), Sputnik 2 — overheating (instead of mid-orbit euthanasia as intended)*
~1965: French astrocat, name unknown (cat) — unknown
1971: Georgi Dobrovolski (human), Soyuz 11 — decompression
1971: Viktor Patsayev (human), Soyuz 11 — decompression
1971: Vladislav Volkov (human), Soyuz 11 — decompression
1972: A-3352 (mouse), Apollo 17 — massive hemorrhage*

“Others will follow. But these were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.”*

Related anecdotes:

2003: Nematodes were the only known survivors of Columbia’s reëntry disintegration.
1960: Soviet cosmodogs Damka (Дамка, “Queen of checkers”) and Krasavka (Красавка, “Little Beauty”) crash-landed in the snowy, freezing (-45°F) wilderness after their rocket malfunctioned and the ejection system failed to jettison them to safety — and the capsule was set to self-destruct after 60 hours. A rescue team found the capsule on day one, but the window was frosted over, there were no signs of life, and there was insufficient daylight remaining to disarm the self-destruct. On day two the dogs were heard barking as the team disarmed and opened the capsule. Damka and Krasavka were wrapped in sheepskin coats and flown home to Moscow.*

Sources:

Not comprehensive, but the best I can do for now. Let me know if you find any others.

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