European fan Phoenix (she/her) recently announced her first data visualization art project about the flights and fates of the Soviet space dogs. Inspired by space, science and science fiction, Phoenix also loves animals, especially dogs, and has provided a forever home to several rescue dogs. Her Soviet Space Dogs project combines these two loves and is being sold to raise money for dogs abandoned due to the conflict in Ukraine.
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 program. 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. Phoenix’s dual language (English/Russian) digital artwork visualizes the data from the book and tells the story of the Soviet space dogs pictorially, from Dezik and Tsygan, the first dogs to leave the Earth, via Laika, the first animal to orbit the Earth; and Belka and Strelka, who were the first to survive orbit; to Ugolyok and Veterok, who survived the last and longest flight, spending 22 days in orbit.
Prints and products featuring the Soviet Space Dogs visualization are being sold online via Redbubble, with all profits going to support Ukrainian charity Shelter Friend who are rescuing dogs which have been abandoned due to the current conflict. Copies of the book are available from the publisher, and currently include a 10% donation to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Direct donations to Shelter Friend can be made via PayPal to [email protected].
Borys Sydiuk from Kyiv said “Supporting Shelter Friend at this time is a wonderful thing to do, and Ukrainian Fans thank Phoenix for her beautiful work”.
A limited edition Soviet Space Dogs print will be on display in the art show at the upcoming Worldcon in Chicago, where signed prints will also be available in the print shop. Thanks to fannish generosity, the print production and art show costs have been covered, so all proceeds from sales at the convention will go to the charity in full.
[Based on a press release.]
How to interpret the graphics: