Saturday, September 29, 2012

Strelka & Belka: A Skit About Soviet Space Dogs

Below is the skit performed at the 10th Annual Marxmas Party, Dec. 28, 2012 in Superior WI.  Belka and Strelka were represented by hand puppets.

Strelka: My name is Strelka.

Belka: And my name is Belka.

Strelka and Belka: And we're the Soviet Space dogs!

Strelka: My first language is dog, but if you speak Russian, then you would know that in Russian my name means arrow.

Belka: Woof woof, and my name means squirrel.

Strelka: We're famous because we were the first animals to go up into space and return alive.

Belka: We are both really excited about that last part.

Strelka: We traveled to space on Sputnik 5 in August 1960 and were accompanied by a rabbit, 40 mice, 2 rats, fruit flies, fungi, and plants.  Practically everything but a partridge and a pear tree.  Every one of us returned home safely on that voyage. 

Belka: Well, we did have some seizures during our orbit.

Strelka: At least we came back, unlike poor Laika.

Belka:  Oh, I don't want to talk about Laika again.

Strelka: Damn shame, that Laika had quite the tail!

Belka: We're scientists, we must be professional!

Strelka: You're such a stuffed collar, Belka.  I may be a scientist, but I'm not neutered!  But yeah, it's really too bad how Laika died.

Belka: Nyet!  Nyet! Nyet! Nyet! tune out...

Strelka: She overheated and went paws up within a few hours of her launch. 

Belka: I can't listen to it!

Strelka: We have to remember that she was a pioneering pooch.  We of course were very really lucky that we got to come back.  Her spacecraft was not designed to survive re-entry.  It was kind of a rush job because the human scientists only had four months to design the craft as Comrade Khrushchev wanted Sputnik 2 to be launched by the 40th anniversary of The Great October Human and Canine Revolution of 1917.

Belka: Many canine comrades died to pave the way for humans in space.

Strelka:  There was Comrades Dezik and Lisa who made a sub-orbital flight in September 1951 and both died.

Belka:  Let's not forget, Comrades Bars and Lisichka. who were part of the Vostok program, but died after their rocket exploded 30 seconds into the launch in July of 1960. 

Strelka: It's no wonder that Comrade Smelaya ran away the day before her launch but was found the next day with her tail between her legs.  She went on to make a successful flight.

Belka: How did they find her?

Strelka: They could "smelaya" her.

Belka: That reminds me, Bolik also tried to run away before her suborbital flight in September 1951. Never found her.  She was replaced by "ZIB" (a Russian acronym for "Substitute for Missing Bolik", "Замена исчезнувшему Болику" Zamena ischeznuvshemu Boliku), who was an untrained street dog found running around the barracks.

Strelka:  Damka and Krasavka had a close call.  They were to make an orbital flight in December 1960 as a part of the Vostok program  but the upper stage rocket failed and the craft re-entered the atmosphere super a beagle after a rabbit. The craft was supposed to eject the dogs and self-destruct, but the ejection seat failed and the self destruct mechanism didn't work.  Our friends crashed to earth and the humans reported that there were no signs of life after it hit. On the second day, however, our friends were heard barking and the capsule was opened. They were wrapped in sheepskin coats and flown to Moscow alive.  There were belly rubs all around that day!

Belka:   Pchyolka and Mushka weren't so lucky.  They spent a day in orbit on Sputnik 6 with other animals but their spacecraft disintegrated during re-entry and all died.

Strelka:  As communists, of course we know that all dogs do NOT go to heaven, but instead go to Kazakhstan!

Belka: I've never been to Kazakhstan, but I hear it's...."very niiiiice." [done with impression of Borat's voice]

Strelka:  Um...yeah.  Anyway, at least 10 other dogs were launched into orbit and many others on sub-orbital flights before the historic date of April 12, 1961, when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.  But it was old hat for our four legged kind.  In total, in the 1950s and 1960s, our Soviet Union sent 57 canine comrades where no cat had gone before.

Belka: Well, there was that one cat that the French launched in 1963. 

Strelka: Yeah, yeah, we were there first . . . you petty bourgeois cat lover!

Belka:  And now, let's sing a song!

[sung to the tune of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"]

Belka and Strelka together sing:

You know Dezik and  Liza and Bars and Lischka
Pycholka and Mushka and Krasavka and Damka
But did you recall, the most famous space dogs of all....

Belka and Strelka the space dogs, went to outer space and back...
we had a couple seizures, but we didn't burn or die (like a light bulb)
Some of the other space dogs, ran away or died in route
so sputnik 5 was better, than Laika's sputnik 2 

Because one fateful august night, Khrushchev came to say, you mangy mutts get in this pod and lets beat the USA!

Belka and Strelka the space dogs, went to outer space and back.
we had a couple seizures, but we beat that darn French cat!

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