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Sputnik 4

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,


Sputnik 4 was a USSR satellite, part of the Sputnik program and a test-flight of the Vostok spacecraft that would be used for the first human spaceflight. It was launched on May 15, 1960. A bug in the guidance system had pointed the capsule in the wrong direction, so instead of dropping into the atmosphere the satellite moved into a higher orbit. It re-entered the atmosphere on or about September 5, 1962. A piece was found in the middle of North 8th Street in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in the northern United States.

This spacecraft, the first of a series of spacecraft used to investigate the means for manned space flight, contained scientific instruments, a television system, and a self-sustaining biological cabin with a dummy of a man. The spacecraft was designed to study the operation of the life support system and the stresses of flight. The spacecraft radioed both extensive telemetry and prerecorded voice communications. After four days of flight, the reentry cabin was separated from its service module and retrorockets were fired, but because of an incorrect attitude the spacecraft did not reenter the atmosphere as planned.

Giovanni Battista Judica Cordiglia, who set up his own amateur listening station at Torre Bert near Turin, is reported to claim that radio signals were received on November 28, 1960 which could have originated from this spacecraft. They appeared to be a distress message, coinciding with the failure of the spacecraft on reentry. It has led some to believe a theory that the spacecraft may have been manned.

Disk marks location of the Sputnik 4 impact
Disk marks location of the Sputnik 4 impact

Mission parameters

  • Mass: 1,477 kg
  • Perigee: 280 km
  • Apogee: 675 km
  • Inclination: 65.02°
  • Period: 94.25 minutes
  • NSSDC ID: 1960-005A

Sputnik Landing site tourist info: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/sights/sightstory.php?tip_AttrId=%3D12959

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Published - July 2009

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