The Soviets sent more dogs into orbit, and they fared better than poor Laika, returning safely home. A few years later, in January 1961, the USA sent Ham the Astrochimp on a suborbital flight as part of Project Mercury. Ham went into space, returned to Earth and lived to the age of 25.
But in the competition between the superpowers, the Soviet Union then won another coveted gold medal. On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin saw what no human had ever seen before: the Earth from space. He made one orbit of Earth. The 50-year anniversary of the flight saw film-maker Christopher Riley's homage to this event. The movie First Orbit
allows you to imagine that you are making the historic voyage. Film shot from the International Space Station creates the views and it's accompanied by Philip Sheppard's music.First Orbit - film