Sputnik 2

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Sputnik 2
Sputnik2 vsm.jpg
Model of Sputnik 2 at the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow
Mission type Bioscience
Operator OKB-1
Harvard designation 1957 Beta 1
SATCAT № 00003
Mission duration 162 days
Orbits completed ~2,000
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 508.3 kilograms (1,121 lb) (payload only)
Start of mission
Launch date November 3, 1957, 02:30:00 (1957-11-03UTC02:30Z) UTC
Rocket Sputnik 8K71PS
Launch site Baikonur 1/5
End of mission
Decay date April 14, 1958 (1958-04-15)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Semi-major axis 7,306 kilometres (4,540 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0990965
Perigee 211 kilometres (131 mi)
Apogee 1,659 kilometres (1,031 mi)
Inclination 65.3 degrees
Period 103.73 minutes
Epoch 3 November 1957[1]

Sputnik 2 (Russian pronunciation: [ˈsputʲnʲɪk], Russian: Спутник-2, Satellite 2), or Prosteyshiy Sputnik 2 (PS-2, Russian: Простейший Спутник 2, Elementary Satellite 2) was the second spacecraft launched into Earth orbit, on 3 November 1957, and the first to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika. Sputnik 2 was a 4-metre (13 foot) high cone-shaped capsule with a base diameter of 2 meters (6.6 feet) that weighed around 500 kg, though it was not designed to separate from the rocket core that brought it to orbit, bringing the total mass in orbit to 7.79 tons.[2] It contained several compartments for radio transmitters, a telemetry system, a programming unit, a regeneration and temperature-control system for the cabin, and scientific instruments. A separate sealed cabin contained the dog Laika.

Engineering and biological data were transmitted using the Tral D telemetry system, transmitting data to Earth for a 15-minute period during each orbit. Two photometers were on board for measuring solar radiation (ultraviolet and x-ray emissions) and cosmic rays. Sputnik 2 did not contain a television camera; TV images of dogs on Korabl-Sputnik 2 are commonly misidentified as Laika.[3]

Sputnik 2 was launched into space only 32 days after its predecessor Sputnik 1. Due to the huge success of Sputnik 1, Nikita Khrushchev had Sergey Korolev on orders and back to work creating a Sputnik 2 that needed to be ready for space for the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution.[4] Many people believed that Khrushchev pushed Korolev into creating Sputnik 2 against his will and advice that it would end in failure but, actually Korolev was more than happy and used the excitement from Sputnik 1 to help, “accelerate his own plans for exploring space, particularly putting man into orbit”[5]

Sputnik 2 was part of an idea that included Sputnik 1 that came from Korolev that was approved in January 1957. At that time, it was not clear that the Soviets main satellite plan (which would eventually become Sputnik 3) would be able to get to space because of the issues going on with the R-7 ICBM, which would be needed to launch a satellite of that size. “Korolev proposed substituting two “simple satellites” for the IGY satellite”.[4] The choice to launch these two instead of waiting for the more advanced Sputnik 3 to be finished was largely motivated by the desire the launch a satellite to orbit before the US.

Mission profile[edit]

USSR postage stamp "Спутник-2"

Sputnik 2, known to Korolev's design bureau as "Prosteyshiy Sputnik-2", meaning "Simple Satellite 2",[6] was launched into a 212 × 1660 km (132 × 1031 mi) orbit with a period of 103.7 minutes on a modified ICBM R-7, similar to the one used to launch Sputnik 1. The R-7 was also known by its GURVO designation 8K71,[7] as well as the T-3, M-104,[8] and Type A.[9] The R-7 modified for the PS-2 satellite launch was designated 8k71PS.[10] Unlike Sputnik 1, Sputnik 2 was not designed to detach from the R-7 sustainer core, since Sputnik 1's core stage had demonstrated an acceptable orbital lifespan. This allowed the core's Tral D telemetry system to be used to transmit data, but would lead to speculation that Sputnik 2 had failed to separate.[11] After reaching orbit, interior temperatures rapidly climbed to over 40 °C (100 °F), and Laika survived for only a few hours instead of the planned ten days.[12] The orbit of Sputnik 2 decayed, and it re-entered Earth's atmosphere on 14 April 1958 after 162 days in orbit.

Instruments Purpose
Dog Laika Biological data
Geiger counters Charged particles
Spectrophotometers Solar radiation (ultraviolet and
x-ray emissions) and cosmic rays

Passenger[edit]

Main article: Laika
2007 Hungarian stamp honouring Laika

The first living creature (larger than a microbe) to enter orbit was a female mongrel originally named Kudryavka (Little Curly) but later renamed Laika ("Barker"). Her true pedigree is unknown, although it is generally accepted that she was part husky or other Nordic breed, and possibly part terrier. NASA refers to Laika as a "part-Samoyed terrier".[13] Laika was selected from ten candidates at the Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine, because of her even temperament.[14] She weighed about 6 kg (13 lbs). The pressurized cabin on Sputnik 2 allowed enough room for her to lie down or stand and was padded. An air regeneration system provided oxygen; food and water were dispensed in a gelatinized form. Laika was chained in place and fitted with a harness, a bag to collect waste, and electrodes to monitor vital signs. Early telemetry indicated Laika was agitated but alive and well, though the cabin temperature had already reached 43 °C (109 °F) by the third orbit. Biometric telemetry failed sometime after the fourth orbit.[15] While it was initially claimed that Laika had survived in orbit for a week, decades later Russian sources revealed that Laika likely lived only a few hours in orbit before dying from overheating.[16] The mission provided scientists with the first data on the behavior of a living organism in the space environment.[17] Although the time between the first 2 sputniks was only 32 days the plans to launch a dog were in the works more than a year in advance. The soviets had already had a lot of experience in launching dogs in high altitude rockets and used that experience when put on order to get sputnik 2 into space.[5]

Impact[edit]

The time after Sputnik 2 was a tense one for Americans and an exciting one for the Soviets. The day after Sputnik 2 went into orbit the Gaither committee met with President Eisenhower to brief him on the current situation.[18] The committee like much of the U.S. seemed to be in a panic, afraid that they were falling too far behind the Soviets technologically and it would put them in danger of nuclear weapons. Unlike most of the U.S., President Eisenhower kept calm through the time afterward just as he did after Sputnik 1 was launched. According to one of the president’s aids, “The presidents burning concern was to keep the country from going hog-wild and from embarking on foolish, costly schemes.”[18] And by this he was referring to the push from the Gaither committee and others to invest on creating nuclear fallout shelters.

In the U.S.S.R., just six days after the launch of Sputnik 2 on the 40th anniversary of the October revolution Khrushchev boasted in a speech “Now our first Sputnik is not lonely in its space travels.”[18]

Sputnik 2 and the Van Allen radiation belt[edit]

Sputnik 2 detected the Earth's outer radiation belt in the far northern latitudes, but the significance of the elevated radiation was not realized. In Australia, Professor Harry Messel intercepted the signals, but the Soviets would not provide the code, and the Australians would not send the data. In 1958, with Sputnik 3, they began to cooperate and confirmed the findings of the U.S. satellites Explorer 1, 3, and 4.

The Van Allen radiation belt was almost named “The Vernov Belt”, after S.N. Vernov from Moscow State University. This did not happen because Sputnik 2 passed through the Van Allen belt too far out of range of the Russian tracking stations. Since the Soviets would not release the code that would allow other stations to read the signals the other stations in Australia and South America who had been in range and received information were not willing to cooperate and give up their findings. Due to this disagreement the Soviets missed a huge opportunity to claim one of the most significant findings of the space race at that time.[19] It wasn’t until the U.S. launched Explorer 1 were the radiation belts proved by James Van Allen.

Reentry[edit]

Sputnik 2 was said to have reentered the atmosphere around 0200 hrs. On a bee line that stretched from New York to the Amazon. Its track was plotted by British ships and 3 “Moon Watch Observations”, from New York. It was said to have been glowing and did not develop a tail until it was at latitudes south of 20 degrees North. Estimates put the average length of the tail to be about 50 nautical miles.[20]

Replicas[edit]

A copy of Sputnik 2 that was used in testing before the launch is located at Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas.[21]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Russian Space Web". 
  3. ^ "Sputnik-2". 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Logsdon, Launius (2000). Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty years since the Soviet satellite. Australia: Hardwood Academic. pp. 86, 101. ISBN 90-5702-623-6. 
  5. ^ a b Zak, Anatoly. "Sputnik 2". Russian Space Web. Retrieved April 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ Siddiqi, Asif A.. Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, Gainesville, Florida. The University of Florida Press, 2003, p. 155. ISBN 0-8130-2627-X
  7. ^ Zaloga, Stephen J.. The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword, Washington. The Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002, p. 232. ISBN 1-58834-007-4
  8. ^ Cox, Donald & Stoiko, Michael, "Spacepower what it means to you", Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The John C. Winston Company, p. 69, 1958
  9. ^ Bilstein, Roger E., "Stages to Saturn a Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn launch Vehicles", Washington D.C., National Aeronautics and Space Administration, p. 387. 1980, NASA SP 4206
  10. ^ Siddiqi, Asif A.. Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, Gainesville, Florida. The University of Florida Press, 2003, p. 163. ISBN 0-8130-2627-X
  11. ^ "Russian Space Web". 3 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Siddiqi, Asif A.. Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, Gainesville, Florida. The University of Florida Press, 2003, p. 174. ISBN 0-8130-2627-X
  13. ^ Sputnik 2. National Space Science Data Center. Accessed April 14, 2015.
  14. ^ Siddiqi, Asif A.. Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, Gainesville, Florida. The University of Florida Press, 2003, p. 173. ISBN 0-8130-2627-X
  15. ^ "Sputnik-2". 
  16. ^ "Russian Space Web". 
  17. ^ Chernov, V. N., and V. I. Yakovlev, Scientific research during the flight of an animal in an artificial earth satellite, Artif. Earth Satell., No. 1, 80-94, 1958
  18. ^ a b c Cox, Donald W. (1962). The space race; from Sputnik to Apollo, and beyond. Philadelphia: Chilton Books. pp. 26, 32. LCCN 62018224. 
  19. ^ Roberts, W. (n.d.). Provocations #36: The Van Allen radiation belts almost scooped | OpenSky Repository. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from https://opensky.ucar.edu/islandora/object/archives:1538 12 January 1985
  20. ^ King-Heele, D (1958). "The Last Minutes of Satellite 1957β (Sputnik 2)". Nature. 
  21. ^ List of Artifacts; Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Bilstein, Roger E., "Stages to Saturn a Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn launch Vehicles", Washington D. C., National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA SP 4206.
  • Cox, Donald & Stoiko, Michael, "Spacepower what it means to you", Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The John C. Winston Company.
  • Harford, James., Korolev, New York. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., ISBN 0-471-14853-9.
  • Siddiqi, Asif A., Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, Gainesville, FL. The University of Florida Press, ISBN 0-8130-2627-X.
  • Swenson, L, Jr, Grimwood, J. M. Alexander, C.C., This New Ocean, A History of Project Mercury, Washington D. C., National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Library of Congress Card No. 66-62424.
  • Zaloga, Stephen J., The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword, Washington. The Smithsonian Institution Press, ISBN 1-58834-007-4.
  • Cox, D. W. (1962). The space race; from Sputnik to Apollo, and beyond. Philadelphia: Chilton Books. pg. 26, 32, 47, 118
  • King-Hele, D., & Walker, D. (1958). The Last Minutes of Satellite 1957β (Sputnik 2). Nature, 182(4633), 426-427.
  • Logsdon, J. M., Launius, R. D., & Smith, R. W. (2000). Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty years since the Soviet satellite. Australia: Harwood Academic. Pg. - 86, 101,
  • Roberts, W. (n.d.). Provocations #36: The Van Allen radiation belts almost scooped | OpenSky Repository. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from https://opensky.ucar.edu/islandora/object/archives:1538 12 January 1985
  • Zak, A. (2016, April 9). Sputnik. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.russianspaceweb.com/sputnik2.html

External links[edit]