Encyclopedia Astronautica
Sputnik 2

Sputnik 2
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian biology satellite. One launch, 1957.11.03.

After the surprise public impact of Sputnik 1, the satellite and launch teams were called back from vacation and in one month assembled Sputnik 2 (using equipment already developed for dog sounding rocket flights). The spacecraft, which remained attached to the upper stage, carried the dog Laika. No recovery was possible, and the dog perished in orbit due to higher-than-expected temperatures.

The life-support system and the consumables were designed for a 7-day flight. Control of the internal atmosphere was provided by a carbon dioxide absorbing device, an oxygen generator, an oxygen regulator, and a fan that activated when the cabin temperature went above 15 deg C. Food and water were ejected by tube directly into the stomach in jelly form, and wastes were removed by another implanted tube. Restraints kept Laika from moving far -- she could not even turn around. Her electrocardiogram, and data on respiration rate and maximum arterial pressure, were radioed to the ground when over the Soviet Union. Some kind of device (a crude television monitor?) allowed her movements in the cabin to be seen.

Three dogs -- Albina, Laika and Mushka -- were involved in flight preparations. Albina was the back-up dog, and had survived earlier sounding rocket flights into space. Mushka was the stand-in for tests. All the dogs had been trained to survive in small cages in preparation for the flight. Laika was sealed into her cramped cabin four days before launch.

Despite her ordeal on the ground she survived the launch and her heart rate returned to normal after a time. She had proven that an animal could survive in sustained spaceflight. But in practice the environmental control system was not up to the task. Telemetry showed that temperature and humidity increased relentlessly. By the fourth orbit none of the physiological sensors were returning data -- Laika had evidently died. This fact was not revealed until the 21st Century.

AKA: PS-2.
Gross mass: 508 kg (1,119 lb).
First Launch: 1957.11.03.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • R-7 Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The world's first ICBM and first orbital launch vehicle. The 8K71 version was never actually put into military service, being succeeded by the R-7A 8K74. More...
  • Soyuz Russian orbital launch vehicle. The world's first ICBM became the most often used and most reliable launch vehicle in history. The original core+four strap-on booster missile had a small third stage added to produce the Vostok launch vehicle, with a payload of 5 metric tons. Addition of a larger third stage produced the Voskhod/Soyuz vehicle, with a payload over 6 metric tons. Using this with a fourth stage, the resulting Molniya booster placed communications satellites and early lunar and planetary probes in higher energy trajectories. By the year 2000 over 1,628 had been launched with an unmatched success rate of 97.5% for production models. Improved models providing commercial launch services for international customers entered service in the new millenium, and a new launch pad at Kourou was to be inaugurated in 2009. It appeared that the R-7 could easily still be in service 70 years after its first launch. More...
  • Sputnik 8K71PS Russian intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Relatively unmodified R-7 ICBM test vehicles used to launch first two Sputniks. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Semenov, Yuri P Editor, Raketno-kosmicheskaya korporatsiya 'Energia' imeni S P Koroleva, Moscow, Russia, 1996.
  • Grahn, Sven, Sven Grahn's Space History Pages, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Varfolomyev, Timothy, "Soviet Rocketry that Conquered Space - 8K71 launches", Spaceflight, 1996, Volume 38, page 31.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Sputnik 2 Chronology

1957 November 3 - . 02:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Sputnik 8K71PS. LV Configuration: Sputnik 8K71PS No. 2PS.
  • Sputnik 2 - . Payload: PS-2. Mass: 508 kg (1,119 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Class: Biology. Type: Biology satellite. Spacecraft: Sputnik 2. Decay Date: 1958-04-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 3 . COSPAR: 1957-Beta-1. Apogee: 1,660 km (1,030 mi). Perigee: 212 km (131 mi). Inclination: 65.3000 deg. Period: 103.70 min. Carried dog Laika. Study of the physical processes and conditions of life in outer space. After the surprise public impact of Sputnik 1, the satellite and launch teams were called back from vacation and in one month assembled the satellite (using equipment already developed for dog sounding rocket flights). After the launch, Soviet space officials said that the spacecraft would not return and that the dog had enough food and oxygen to live for up to 10 days. Only 45 years later was it revealed that Laika overheated, panicked and died within 5 to 7 hours of launch. What turned out to be the first space crypt remained in orbit a total of 162 days, then burned up in the atmosphere on April 14, 1958.

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