Launch Date August 25, 1962
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia ​
Destination Venus
Type Impact
Status Unsuccessful
Nation USSR
Alternate Names Alpha Pi 1, Sputnik 19, Sputnik 23 ​

In Depth

This mission was the first of a second generation of Soviet deep space probes based on a unified platform called 2MV ("2" for the second generation, "MV" for Mars and Venus) designed to study Mars and Venus. The series included four variants with the same bus but with different payload complements: 2MV-1 (for Venus impact), 2MV-2 (for Venus flyby), 2MV-3 (for Mars impact), and 2MV-4 (for Mars flyby).

The landers carried pressurized capsules; the Venus landers were cooled with an ammonia-based system, while the Mars landers used a system of air conditioners. Both landers were sterilized with a special substance on recommendation from the Academy of Science Institute of Microbiology. The buses were powered by solar panels with an area of 2.5 square meters capable of providing 2.6 A.

For Venus, the Soviets prepared three spacecraft for the August-September 1962 launch window, one flyby spacecraft and two landers.

This first spacecraft was successfully launched into Earth orbit, but the Blok L upper stage cut off its interplanetary burn after only 45 seconds (instead of the planned 240 seconds). Later investigation showed that the stage had been set on a tumbling motion prior to main engine ignition due to asymmetrical firing of stabilizing motors. The spacecraft remained in Earth orbit for three days before reentering Earth's atmosphere.


Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood), 8K78 (no. T103-12)

Spacecraft Mass: 1,097 kilograms

Spacecraft Instruments: Unknown


Selected References

Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24. NASA, 2002.​

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