Further to an earlier posting (Jan 20, 2005) about my father's attempt to get one of our racehorses registered as "Little Lemon" in honour of Laika, it seems that satellites were a popular source of racehorse names in the 1950s:
The Jockey Club of New York, which approves the names of race horses, has recently announced that only one horse can be named Sputnik and that since that name has now been assigned, no more breeders need ask for the name.
From Ackerman, Louise M. 1958 Facetious variations of 'Sputnik'. American Speech 33(2):154-156
Around this time many space expressions, including Russian words, became common; and there are many articles tracking these changes in language driven by the popular interest in space exploration.