Before humans were sent into space, the Soviet Union sent dogs first. The first dog to be sent was a stray dog named Laika, who was revealed to have died from panic and overheating just a few hours after blast-off. The next dogs to be sent into space would be Belka and Strelka, who were able to return safely after their trip to space.
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These dogs, back in their time, kickstarted a “huge industry in collectibles featuring canine cosmonauts, from painted plates and clocks to Russian dolls and cigarette cases.” (That’s a lot of doggo merchandise!).
Enter the photographer Martin Parr, who has been collecting these items for 20 years for his canine-themed collection. “From the first moment I saw a piece of space dog ephemera I was hooked,” says Martin. “A useful way to understand the impact that they had on Russian society,” he says, “is to draw a parallel with the Beatles or Mickey Mouse, those western icons that generated huge quantities of memorabilia,” he added.
Check out his collection over at The Guardian.
(Image Credit: Martin Parr)