When the Soviet Union Launched the Korabl Sputnik 2

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Korabl-Sputnik 2

Korabl-Sputnik 2, also known as Sputnik 5 was a part of the Sputnik Space Program launched by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. Launched on 19th of August 1960, Korabl Sputnik 2 was the first spaceflight which carried living animals into the orbit and returned them safely back to earth.

Insights of this blog are:-

  • Background of Korabl Sputnik 2
  • The Mission Profile: The Theme And The Plan Made
  • Launch And Its Re-entry of Korabl Sputnik 2
  • The Aftermath
  • The Bottom Line

Background of Korabl Sputnik 2

After what happened on Sputnik 2 mission, it was necessary to find out an effective way for the re-entry of the capsule into the atmosphere. This stood firmly and had to be resolved in order to ensure human’s way into space and thus with the same idea Korabl Sputnik 2 mission was formed.

However, in its first attempt, Korabl Sputnik 2 which carried a pair named Bars failed miserably. This happened after Blok G strap on of the capsule suffered a fire after which one of the combustion chambers broke down ultimately leading to breaking off of the booster within 30 seconds after the launch. As a result, the capsule crashed into the steppe. However, all efforts were made to save the animals on board but due to low altitude the parachutes opened up partially and the dogs died on hitting the ground.

After this incident, all efforts were made to make the second launch successful and develop an ejector seat for the cosmonaut in the Korabl Sputnik 2 in case it faces the same launch failure issue.

The Mission Profile: The Theme And The Plan Made

  • Sputnik 5 was designed with a clear idea to acquire more information about the Earth Orbiting System which would prove beneficial in the planned human space program.
  • The primary reason for this mission was to know the habitability of space for humans.
  • It was the third test flight of the Vostok spacecraft and the main theme of this mission was to ensure safe returning of the animals back to Earth along with acquiring more information about the Earth Orbiting System. For this purpose, it was planned that the spacecraft would carry some living animals, along with plants and television which would take images on their journey into space.

Launch And Re-entry of Korabl Sputnik 2

  • Finally, on 19 August 1960 Korabl Sputnik 2 was launched using a Votsok Lcarrier rocket as claimed by Wikipedia. As per the official sources, the spacecraft took off at 08:44:06 UTC and carried two dogs (Belka and Strelka), forty mice and two rats along with some plants on its way into space.
  • The spacecraft was also fitted with a television camera to take images of the living animals on their way to space and back to Earth.
  • The first signals were picked up at a radio station in Bonn, West Germany which was later confirmed by a Swedish radio station when the aircraft was in the third orbit.
  • The satellite made 4 orbits around the Earth and stayed for a period of 90.72 minutes before touching down. Korabl Sputnik 2 entered the Earth’s atmosphere a day later and touched the surface on 06:00:00 UTC on 20th August 1960. The launch was successful and all the animals were safe.

The Aftermath

  • After the Korabl Sputnik 2 mission was over, the telemetry revealed that one of the dogs suffered seizures during the fourth orbit and hence the first manned flight was limited to 3 orbits.
  • A year later, Strelka had a litter of puppies and one of them was sent to Jacqueline Kennedy as goodwill present from the Soviet Union.
  • The Korabl Sputnik 2 mission proved to be insightful and thus due gratitude was shown to the animals who went on the mission.
  • Even after the death of the dogs, the bodies of Belka and Strelka were preserved via taxidermy and were displayed in the Moscow Museum of Space and Aeronautics.

The Bottom Line

The efforts made by all the great minds involved in the mission ensured that the capsule returns back safely and the living creatures on board are unharmed. The success of Korabl Sputnik 2 paved the way for first human orbital flight, Vostok 1 which was launched in less than eight months.

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