'Sam' – Riga, Latvia - Atlas Obscura

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This statue is dedicated to the animal cosmonauts that perished during space flight experiments. 


This sculpture is from a series entitled “First Crew” by Russian artist Denis Prasolov. The monkey depicted in the sculpture is known as “Sam” and is a tribute to the animals who died during spaceflight survival tests.

The former Soviet Union used a variety of animals for space missions during 195os and 1960s. During this period, it’s believed 42 animal cosmonauts were rocketed into the stratosphere. Practically all died during these tests either from fear and stress, or asphyxiation. 

Initially, “Sam” was exhibited in Kronvalda park in Riga during a sculpture festival in 2016. Latvians were so fond of the sculpture that after the festival concluded, it was moved to a residential area where it can be viewed today. 

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