Launch Date Aug. 25, 1962 | 02:18:45 UT
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 1
Destination Venus
Type Flyby
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names Sputnik 19, 1962-040A, Alpha Pi 1, Sputnik 23 (USNSC), 00372


Fly by Venus and send back science data.


None. A malfunction stranded the spacecraft in Earth orbit and it fell back to Earth three days after launch.

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 Sciences' 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: 8K78 (no. T103-12)

Spacecraft Mass: 1,097 kilograms

Spacecraft Instruments:

The spacecraft scientific payload comprised ultraviolet detectors, a chemical gas analyzer, temperature, density, and pressure sensors, a gamma-ray counter, movement detector, a surface gamma-ray detector, and a meteorite detector.

Additional Resources

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: Sputnik 19

Selected References

Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002.

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