Launch Date October 24, 1962
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 1
Destination Mars
Type Flyby
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names Korabl 11, Mars 1962A, Sputnik 22, Sputnik 29 (USNSC), 2MV-4 No.3, 00443, 1962-057A


Stripped of most scientific instruments, this mission—also known as Sputnik 22—was primarily an engineering test flight to send a spacecraft flying past Mars.


None. An engine malfunction triggered an explosion in Earth orbit, destroying the spacecraft. The largest fragment re-entered Earth's atmosphere five days after launch.

Key Dates

Oct. 24, 1962: Launch

In Depth

This was the first of three "second generation" interplanetary probes (two flyby probes and one impact probe), designed to reach Mars, prepared by the Soviets for the late-1962 launch window.

Because of the repeated failures of the Blok L upper stage during deep space missions, engineers elected to outfit the stage for the Mars missions with supplementary control and measurement equipment. As a result, most of the scientific instruments were removed from the Mars spacecraft. The three missions were primarily technological test flights rather than scientific missions.

In this case, the Blok L interplanetary stage failed again. Just 17 seconds after trans-Mars injection ignition, the main engine (the S1.5400A1) turbopump exploded, destroying the payload. The problem was traced to leaking lubricant. As many as 24 fragments were later tracked, the largest of which reentered Earth's atmosphere on 29 October 1962. The original probe was designed to fly by Mars on 17 June 1963.


Launch Vehicle: 8K78 (no. T103-15)

Spacecraft Mass: c. 900 kilograms

Spacecraft Instruments:

1) imaging system and 2) magnetometer

Additional Resources

NSSDC Master Catalog: Sputnik 22

Selected References

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

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