Korabl-Sputnik 1

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Korabl-Sputnik 119
Mission type Technology
Harvard designation 1960 Epsilon i3
COSPAR ID 1960-005A
SATCAT no. 36
Mission duration 4 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Vostok-1P
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 1,477 kilograms (3,256 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date 15 May 1960, 00:00:05 (1960-05-15UTC00:00:05Z) UTC
Rocket Vostok-L 8K72 s/n L1-11
Launch site Baikonur 1/5
End of mission
Disposal Failed deorbit
c. 19 May 1960
Decay date 5 September 1962 (1962-09-06)[1]
Landing site 44°05′56″N 87°39′28″W / 44.098951°N 87.657689°W / 44.098951; -87.657689
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Eccentricity 0.02879
Perigee 280 kilometres (170 mi)
Apogee 675 kilometres (419 mi)
Inclination 65.02 degrees
Period 94.25 minutes
Epoch 1960-05-15 00:00:00 UTC

Korabl-Sputnik 1[2] (Russian: Корабль Спутник 1 meaning Ship Satellite 1, Boat Satellite 1, or Starship Satellite 1), also known as Sputnik 4 in the West,[1] was the first test flight of the Soviet Vostok programme, and the first Vostok spacecraft. It was launched on May 15, 1960. Though Korabl-Sputnik 1 was unmanned, it was a precursor to the first human spaceflight, Vostok 1. A bug in the guidance system had pointed the capsule in the wrong direction, so instead of dropping into the atmosphere the satellite moved into a higher orbit. The descent module re-entered the atmosphere on September 1, 1962.[contradictory][1] A piece was found in the middle of North 8th Street in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in the northern United States.[3]

Ring marking the location of the impact in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

This spacecraft, the first of a series of spacecraft used to investigate the means for manned space flight, contained scientific instruments, a television system, and a self-sustaining biological cabin with a dummy of a man. The spacecraft was designed to study the operation of the life support system and the stresses of flight. The spacecraft radioed both extensive telemetry and prerecorded voice communications. After four days of flight, the descent module was separated from its equipment module and retrorockets were fired, but because of an incorrect attitude the spacecraft did not reenter the atmosphere as planned.[1] The descent module re-entered the atmosphere on September 5, 1962,[contradictory] while the equipment module re-entered on October 15, 1965.[4]

Giovanni Battista Judica Cordiglia, who set up his own amateur listening station at Torre Bert near Turin, is reported to have claimed that radio signals were received on November 28, 1960 which could have originated from this spacecraft; the spacecraft is known to have radioed prerecorded voice communications. It has led some to believe a conspiracy theory that the spacecraft may have been manned by the Lost Cosmonauts.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sputnik 4 - NSSDC ID: 1960-005A". NASA. 
  2. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Sputnik Crashed Here, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
  4. ^ Hall and Shayer, p.122
  5. ^ Interview with Gian Cordiglia


  • Rex Hall, David Shayler (May 18, 2001). The rocket men: Vostok & Voskhod, the first Soviet manned spaceflights. Springer. p. 350. ISBN 1-85233-391-X.