On November 3rd 1957 the USSR launched Sputnik 2 into orbit.
Sputnik 2 was the second craft to reach Earth orbit, after Sputnik 1. It also was the first spacecraft to carry a living being, the dog Laika.
Unfortunately, Laika died within a few hours of the craft reaching orbit, although, until 2002, it was said she lived for six days until, according to the Soviets, she was euthanized before her oxygen ran out, or according to others from suffocation when it did. She actually died from overheating. No effort had been made to recover her safely anyway. That wouldn't go down well with many.
The mission itself ran for 162 days and about 2,000 orbits of the Earth.
Image Source: Public Domain via Wikicommons (commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sputnik2_vsm.jpg)