Laika was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. She reached orbit alive, circling the Earth in about 103 minutes. 'Please forgive us' said Russian biologist Adilya Kotovskaya, as she wept and stroked Laika. Laika, a mixed-breed dog, was the first living being in orbit. Laika, a dog that was the first living creature to be launched into Earth orbit, in the Soviet artificial satellite Sputnik 2, in 1957.