13 September 2009

Stuntspeople and Soviet Space Dogs

Sporting two m[w]ild (w[m]ild) obsessions: internet-fanatic apocalypto-excalamatory rhetoric surrounding Niagara Falls stuntspeople; and Soviet space dogs.

July 25th, 1911
The infamous Bobby Leach plunged over the Falls in a steel barrel. Bobby broke both kneecaps and his jaw during his daring event. Years later while touring in New Zealand, Bobby slipped on an orange peel and died from complications due to gangrene !

June 30th 1961
Nathan Boya drops off the brink in a ball-like contraption.

October 5th 1985
A Canadian mechanic John "Super Dave" Munday made a successful trip in his barrel. Dave could not get enough! He made a second successful trip on September 26th 1993.

// Daredevils of Niagara Falls

On August 22nd 1886, Carlisle Graham had offered $10 to anyone willing to retrieve his barrel from the Whirlpool following his daredevil stunt ride through the Whirlpool Rapids. James Scott agreed to Graham's offer. While awaiting Grahams return, Scott made a practice jump into the water from a location west of Thompson's Point at the Whirlpool. Scott failed to resurface and died of drowning.

// Niagara Falls Daredevils
The first men and women who traveled in space — in the 1960s — depended on the sacrifices of other animals that gave their lives for the advancement of human knoweldge about the conditions in outer space beyond this planet's protective ozone layer, about the effects of weightlessness on living organisms, and about the effects of stress on behavior. Preparations for human space activities depended on the ability of animals that flew during and after the 1940s to survive and thrive. Let's look at Russia's space dogs first, then the other animals in space.


Their training included standing still for long periods of time, wearing space suits, being placed in simulators that acted like a rocket during launch, riding in centrifuges that simulated the high acceleration of a rocket launch and being kept in progressively smaller cages to prepare them for the confines of the space module. Dogs that flew in orbit were fed a nutritious jelly-like protein. This was highly fibrous, and assisted the dogs to excrete during long periods of time while in their small space module. More than 60% of dogs to enter space were reportedly suffering from constipation and gallstones on arrival back to base.

// source

This first earth-born creature to leave the earth was, of course, the famed Laika (barker), whose flight commanded the attention of the entire world. Between 1959 and 1961, 10 more dogs in 6 separate missions followed Laika's courageous example culminating in the flight of Zvezdochka (daughter of the stars), who, in the mute company of Ivan Ivanovich, a human mannequin, made a single orbit flight in final preparation for April 12, 1961, that historic day, when, proven tenable by the dogs, Yuri Gagarin was launched into space in the first human extra-terrestrial flight.

// The Lives of Perfect Creatures

Smelaya (Bold) and Malyshka (Little One or Kid) were scheduled for a flight in September, 1951. The day before launch, Smelaya ran away. Facility scientists feared she had been eaten by the wolves which inhabited the forest around the research center. She came back one day later, however, and the day following her return, she and Malyshka made a successful suborbital
flight and were recovered unharmed.

// Laika - The Space Dog

I heartily blame Nick Seaver for getting me started on Soviet space dogs.


Anonymous said...

Please, can you PM me and tell me few more thinks about this, I am really fan of your blog...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I can’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please :)