Laika was an Earth dog that became the first animal to be shot into orbit around that planet. This stray dog was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 and entered orbit on November 3, 1957. The dog died hours later, most likely due to a malfunction in the craft's environmental systems. The true cause of her death was not made public until decades later. This was a precursor to Earth's First Space Age.