Laika had several nicknames before they settled on her name. The American press called her ‘Muttnik’.
Image: NASA.

In 1957 on this date, Russia launched Sputnik 2, carrying a dog named Laika into Earth orbit about a month after the surprise public impact of Sputnik I. After the launch, Soviet space officials said that the spacecraft would not return, and that the dog had enough food and oxygen to live for up to 10 days. 45 years later, it was revealed that Laika overheated, panicked and died within 5 to 7 hours of launch.

A more complete description of Sputnik 2 may be found at NASA’s page here.