What ever happened to Laika, the space dog of Sputnik II? The People's cube has the scoop here.
Enter Sputnik 2. The Soviet press boasted about the 250-pound object equipped with a cabin, providing all the necessary life support for a dog named Laika. Well, almost. The Soviets admitted soon after the launch that the spacecraft would not return, meaning that the animal was doomed from the start. Years after Sputnik 2 burned up in the atmosphere, conflicting scenarios of Laika's death were circulating in the West..
Recently, several Russian sources revealed that Laika survived in orbit for four days and then died when the cabin overheated. The design of the cabin was derived from the nose sections of experimental ballistic missiles that carried dogs into the upper atmosphere in short and relatively slow-speed flights, ending in a parachute landing. ~