It was designed by the Soviet space program to send the first live astronaut into space, during the Sputnik era. The astronaut’s name was Laika. She was a dog.
A picture of her before her historic space flight:
At the time, at the height of the space race with the U.S., the Soviets claimed to have brought her back from orbit—even filming spurious footage of a healthy dog leaping out of a returned space capsule. We now know it had always been a one-way trip for Laika. There never was any plan to bring her back.
Her story has been told over the years, most memorably by Nick Abadzis, in his exquisitely poignant graphic novel, which we published a few years ago. A perennial favorite, it continues to draw superlative praise, and for good reason.
A little glimpse behind the scenes, then… Nick’s research took him to Moscow, to the space museum there and deep into the archives of the Soviet space program.
The photos in this post are from him. From Russia, he returned with volumes and volumes of notes and raw materials.
He spent time exploring character designs, and fine tuning the visual handwriting he would put into the service of his story…