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Kosmos 96
Kosmos 96 Mission to Venus

Mission Type: Impact
Launch Vehicle: 8K78M
Launch Site: Tyuratam, Baikonur Cosmodrome, USSR
Spacecraft Mass: c. 950 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: Unknown
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi

National Space Science Data Center,

This was the third and last spacecraft prepared for a Venus encounter by the Soviets in 1965. All three spacecraft had originally been intended for Mars Exploration in 1964 and 1965. However, during coast to orbit, a combustion chamber in the booster's third-stage engine exploded due to a crack in the fuel pipeline.

Although the payload reached Earth orbit, the Blok L upper stage was tumbling and was unable to fire for trans-Venus trajectory injection. The probe remained stranded in Earth orbit and the Soviets named it Kosmos 96 to disguise its true mission. The probe's orbit decayed on 9 December 1965,

Key Dates
9 Dec 1965:  Burned up in Earth's Atmosphere
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Kosmos 96 Facts There is some speculation that the reentry of the Kosmos 96/Venera-type spacecraft was responsible for a fireball which was seen over southwestern Ontario, Canada and at least eight states from Michigan to New York at 4:43 p.m. EST on 9 December 1965.

But uncertainties in the orbital information and re-entry coordinates and time make it difficult to determine definitively if the fireball could have been Kosmos 96.

Beginning in 1962, the name Kosmos was given to Soviet spacecraft which remained in Earth orbit, regardless of whether that was their intended final destination.
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Last Updated: 29 Nov 2010