Courage Boys features stories to inspire and leave you feeling hopeful. Making a difference is not only possible, but something we’re all capable of accomplishing. These are the stories of ordinary people making the decision to be extraordinary with bravery, resilience and principle. This is Courage Boys.
Soviet mystique grew even more when they announced Sputnik 2 would be launched before the Americans could send Explorer 1 into space. Nikita Khrushchev promised they would launch within a month, just in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.
The kicker was that Sputnik 2 would be manned --- by a candidate chosen on the streets of Moscow. Teams of scientists had already begun their search, avoiding the usual suspects: universities, military, and the like, preferring a simple adventurer, a friend of the worker.
Research showed they would need someone who could deal with extreme cold, hunger and prolonged discomfort. This eliminated any candidates from among the privileged party elite and their sons.
In short order, ten candidates were identified and taken to live at the space training facility in Moscow. Scientists immediately took their vitals and ran them through a battery of tests. A clear favorite emerged that would be another coup for the Soviets. Not only would this first soul in space be a Soviet, the new hero would be a female. They called her Kudryavka or "Curly." She personified Soviet tenacity and grit, and her big brown eyes and wavy hair were a hit on Soviet television.
On November 3, 1957, Sputnik 2 was launched.
After the initial accelerated heart rate and a degree of tension, Curly responded well and had her first meal in space. But sadly, it was also her last meal. The Sputnik nose cone released as planned, but the internal thermal insulation ripped loose, causing temperatures to soar inside the capsule. The cabin overheated, and Curly died quickly.
The mission, while tragic, was not in vain. Curly's space odyssey showed the world that life could be supported during takeoff with maybe a few tweaks to the temperature control system. Other valuable research was also harvested from the failed mission, research that subsequently was used by the U.S. to put the first man on the moon.
To accomplish great feats, we often stand on the shoulders of giants, even little giants like Curly --- a dog.