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Korabl-Sputnik 2 (Russian: Корабль-Спутник 2 meaning Ship-Satellite 2), also known as Vostok-1K No.2 and incorrectly as Sputnik 5 in the West, 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. 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 this problem (which had plagued earlier 8K72 launches) had supposedly been corrected.
The launch of Korabl-Sputnik 2 occurred on 19 August 1960, using a Vostok-Lcarrier rocket. Official sources reported the launch time to have been 08:44:06 UTC, however Sergei Voevodin gave it as 08:38:24. 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 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.
Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes ( | ). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other spacecraft are denoted in brackets.