Soviet Space Dogs by Phoenix Data Art

This dual language (English/Russian) digital artwork visualises the flights and fates of all the known Soviet Space Dogs.

The sad story of Laika, the first animal to go into orbit, is known amongst space enthusiasts around the world, but Laika was just one of many dogs that played a vital role in the Soviet space programme. Their story is told eloquently by Olesya Turkina, Senior Research Fellow at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, in her 2014 book “Soviet Space Dogs”.

This dual language (English/Russian) digital artwork visualises the data from the book, combined with additional flight and rocket data from the Nasa Space Science Data Coordinated Archive and the Encyclopedia Astronautica.

Each dog from the Soviet space programme is represented by a circle. Flights are represented by triangles along the timeline at the bottom. Dogs are connected by lines to the flights that they flew on. Symbol shapes, sizes and colours give further information about the dogs and flights, as shown in the legend.

Inspiration for the shapes and colours used in this visualisation has been drawn from the cover of the book, itself inspired by chocolate box covers from the era, as well as from illustrations within the book. These illustrations include a variety of Soviet artefacts, from stamps and postcards to sweet-tins and cigarette packets, on which the Space Dogs were immortalised.

Prints and products featuring this visualisation are available to buy with all profits being donated to a charity rescuing abandoned dogs in Ukraine.

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