Launch Date November 4, 1962
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 1
Destination Mars
Type Impact
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names Beta Xi 1, Korabl 13, Mars 1962B, Sputnik 24, Sputnik 31 (USNSC), 1962-062A

Goals

This was the Soviet Union's third and final attempt in 1962 to send a spacecraft to Mars as an engineering testbed. Unlike the other two missions, this one was designed to crash into Mars.

Accomplishments

None. A timer malfunction shut down the main engine too soon, leaving the spacecraft stranded in Earth orbit. It eventually burned up in Earth's atmosphere.

Key Dates

Nov. 4, 1962: Launch

In Depth

This was the third and last of the Soviet second-generation Mars attempts in 1962 and also the only lander in the series.

During the trans-Mars injection firing of the Blok L stage, the main engine (the S1.5400A1) prematurely shut down after 33 seconds due to a malfunction in the programmed timer for the stage. The problem was later traced to excessive vibrations of the second stage during liftoff. These vibrations evidently also jarred loose a pyrotechnic igniter from its support, preventing the Blok L upper stage from firing.

The spacecraft remained stranded in orbit and re-entered Earth's atmosphere. The spacecraft had been intended to fly by Mars on June 21, 1963.

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: 8K78 (no. T103-17)

Spacecraft Mass: 890 kilograms

Spacecraft Instruments:

Unknown

Additional Resources

NSSDC Master Catalog: Sputnik 24

Selected References

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

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