Laika's training included adapting to the confined space of Sputnik 2 as well as placement in a centrifuge to acclimate to acceleration of the rocket launch. As her time for launch approached, Laika was taken home with a scientist to play with children. Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky wrote, "I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live."
On November 3, 1957 Laika was sent to space with scientists monitoring her vitals. Laika survived for four circuits around the earth, or 5 to 7 hours. Early on there was conflicting information from the Soviets on her demise, but in 2002 it was revealed Laika had died from overheating.
The monument is shaped like a rocket at the bottom and becomes an open hand, holding Laika.