Korabl-Sputnik 2

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Korabl-Sputnik 2
Mission type Biological
Harvard designation 1960 Lambda 1
Mission duration 1 day
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Vostok-1K
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 4,600 kilograms (10,100 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 19 August 1960, 08:44:06 (1960-08-19UTC08:44:06Z) UTC
Rocket Vostok-L 8K72 s/n L1-12
Launch site Baikonur 1/5
End of mission
Landing date 20 August 1960, 06:00:00 (1960-08-20UTC07Z) UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 287 kilometres (178 mi)
Apogee 324 kilometres (201 mi)
Inclination 64.95 degrees
Period 90.72 minutes
Stamp issued to commemorate the mission

Korabl-Sputnik 2[1] (Russian: Корабль-Спутник 2 meaning Ship-Satellite 2), also known as Vostok-1K No.2 and incorrectly as Sputnik 5 in the West,[2] was a Soviet artificial satellite, and the third test flight of the Vostok spacecraft. It was the first spaceflight to send animals into orbit and return them safely back to Earth. Launched on August 19, 1960 it paved the way for the first human orbital flight, Vostok 1, which was launched less than eight months later.

Korabl-Sputnik 2 was the second attempt to launch a Vostok capsule with dogs on board as the first try on July 28 had been unsuccessful after the Blok G strap-on suffered a fire and breakdown in one of the combustion chambers, followed by its breaking off of the booster 19 seconds after launch. The launch vehicle then disintegrated, the rest of the strap-ons separating and flying in random directions with the Blok I core stage continuing on its trajectory until Range Safety issued the destruct command at T+28 seconds.[citation needed] The Vostok descent module was blasted free of the exploding booster, but the dogs were killed upon impact with the ground. It was believed that the combustion chamber disintegration was due to longitudinal vibrations. This created a considerable uproar as the problem (which had plagued earlier 8K72 launches) had supposedly been corrected.[citation needed] The accident also encouraged the development of an ejector seat for the cosmonaut to escape from the capsule in the event of a launch failure.

The launch of Korabl-Sputnik 2 occurred on 19 August 1960, using a Vostok-L carrier rocket. Official sources reported the launch time to have been 08:44:06 UTC, however Sergei Voevodin gave it as 08:38:24.[citation needed] A radio station in Bonn, West Germany, was among the first to pick up signals from the spacecraft, which were confirmed on the third orbit by a Swedish radio station.

The spacecraft carried two dogs, Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, two rats and a variety of plants, as well as a television camera which took images of the dogs. The spacecraft returned to Earth at 06:00:00 UTC on 20 August, the day after its launch, although telemetry revealed that one dog had suffered seizures during the fourth orbit. Thus, it was decided to limit the first manned flight to three orbits. All of the animals were recovered safely, and a year later Strelka had a litter of puppies, one of which was sent to First Lady of USA Jacqueline Kennedy as a goodwill present from the Soviet Union. President Kennedy's advisers initially opposed taking the dog for fear that the Soviets might have planted microphones in its body to listen in on national defense meetings.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Wade, Mark. "Vostok". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 27 July 2010.