Laika, the first animal in space, was launched aboard Sputnik 2, November 3, 1957. Laika proved that humans could survive the launch process but the Soviets had not devised a return to Earth and recovery method (did they care?) so Laika died in orbit.
The adorable little mongrel was found wandering the streets of Moscow so Soviet scientists figured she had already experienced extreme cold and hunger. (I suppose they did care. A little.) Laika has been described as 'quiet and charming'. Of course, she was. She thought she had been rescued from the streets, not knowing she was going to be sacrificed to science.
She has been immortalized in space history forever as the first woman in space!