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Sputnik 2: The First Animal in Orbit

3 Nov 2017, 12:54 UTC
Sputnik 2: The First Animal in Orbit
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The launching of Sputnik on the night of October 4, 1957 was virtually a total success (see “Sputnik: The Launch of the Space Age”). The only major malfunction was in the system that evenly empties the propellant tanks in the core and four boosters of the 8K71PS version of the R-7 ICBM (which was designated the SS-6 or Sapwood by NATO) that launched Sputnik. This system’s failure caused the core’s RD-107 engine to shut down a second earlier than intended because of excessive kerosene fuel consumption. This resulted in the apogee of Sputnik being 80 kilometers lower than originally planned but it still made it into a stable orbit nonetheless. The 83.6 kilogram satellite continued to transmit for the next three weeks before its batteries finally gave out. Due to the ever present atmospheric drag, the empty 7.5 metric ton Blok A core of the launch vehicle fell from orbit on December 1, 1957 followed by the now-silent Sputnik on January 4, 1958.
The launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957 made headlines across the globe and shocked many Americans.
The night that Sputnik was launched, nobody could have predicted what impact it would have on the world. According to ...

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