74

Laika's magical mystery propellant was kerosene and LOX. Sputnik 2 was launched on the 8K71PS launcher. This was a modified R-7 ICBM, and like all the R-7 derived launchers, its RD-107 and RD-108 engines burned kerosene/LOX. The Russian specification for rocket-grade kerosene is called RG-1, and it's similar to the American RP-1. The specific impulse of ...


73

The USSR's next-to-last crewed launch was Soyuz TM-12, flying to Mir, carrying two Russians and the UK's first astronaut, Helen Sharman. Here's a photo of TM-12 on the launch pad with the UK flag visible. Several nations partnered with the USSR and sent astronauts to Mir during this time period, and in each case the appropriate national flags were painted ...


47

The teeth served an aerodynamic function. ...metal teeth were added to the periphery of the impact ring in an effort to reduce the spin and oscillation during the descent and prevent the rough landings experienced by the 1978 missions. This is also why the earlier missions didn't have them, they were added in an attempt to mitigate problems experienced on ...


45

Shot answer: Was Sputnik-1 "only for beep" - no, it wasn't :) It was technical test of R-7 as space launcher and test of spacecraft in orbit (athough very simple spacecraft). Also scientists at least tried to make atmosphere research with Sputnik-1. (From my current search results I'm not sure they got much.) Long answer: It's current state of my ...


39

From this pdf (Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite) at NASA.gov referring to Sergei Korolev, the lead rocket engineer for the Sputnik project: There were many debates on the shape of the first satellite, with most senior OKB-1 designers preferring a conical form since it fit well with the nose cone of the rocket. At a meeting ...


31

The Answer is on a page by Sven Grahn. No ocean going tracking ships were used. Only ground stations on the territory of the USSR. In the other answers some russian sources about the use of tracking ships were found, so the information from Sven Grahn may be partialy wrong. Short waves were used for long distance (5000 km) transmission even beyond line-of-...


31

They used an extremely large rail-based transporter/erector nicknamed the "grasshopper". Image source This image shows the N-1 in the process of rotation. Image source russianspaceweb says the hydraulic ram visible in this image "boasted a hydraulic cylinder one meter in caliber, which had a length of nine meters and would extend up to 16 meters". Two ...


30

I don't know what the USSR was trying to do with it, but I know what the US Navy did with it. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab used the Doppler shift on the 20 MHz tone to determine Sputnik-1's orbit, plus ionospheric electron density and a couple of other things (like a transmitter frequency offset of ~1 kHz from the ...


26

According to this NASA page someone was killed when his space suit was ripped during a test of the ejection system. Korolyovs [Korolevs] reaction to Dolgov's death was to take a number of urgent and clever measures. First he had the exit hatch made larger. Secondly, he increased to two seconds the interval between shooting off the hatch and the ...


26

Sputnik 1 was pressurized with nitrogen at 1.3atm. The period of the beeping was tied to a pressure sensor. The logic was being that if anything (such as a micrometeoroid) penetrated the satellite, the change in pressure would detect this and inform the scientists on the ground. This simple test had scientific value for the later programs with living samples ...


24

Generically the program was underfunded, and the main issue was lack of full up testing of each stage. With 30 engines, the interactions in the plumbing were very complex and caused imperfect fuel/oxidizer flow that affected the engines. Engines that were sensitive to fuel/oxidizer flow issues with lots of them, lots of plumbing, huge volumes, needs lots ...


24

There are a few advantages to launching a spacecraft from a high latitude, depending on what you want exactly. The primary advantage to such a system is for very high inclined orbits. Most low earth satellites benefit from a high inclination, and in fact, many are placed in to what is known as a "Sun Synchronous Orbit" with a slight retrograde inclination. ...


24

That claim is rather dubious. First, there is the claim of 320,000 channels of telemetry, while one paragraph earlier it lists 13,000 sensors on board. There will be setpoints in addition to sensor data, but 20x as many? The earlier 5L mission had 10,000 telemetry channels. I found these specifications for the S-530 computer: speed: 0.1 MIPS RAM: 256 ...


24

The Voskhod capsule was very cramped, and the three-cosmonaut flight was essentially a propaganda stunt. From Wikipedia: [Voskhod 1 was] the first flight without the use of spacesuits... The three spacesuits for the Voskhod 1 cosmonauts were omitted; there was neither the room nor the payload capacity for the Voskhod to carry them. ... The only other space ...


21

There are good diagrams of the Kontakt docking system in the Mir Hardware Heritage document by Portree. As stated in comments, this was an unpowered, misalignment-tolerant docking system that did not incorporate a transfer tunnel. ... a spring-loaded probe docking system, called Aktiv (“active”), which was designed to penetrate and grip a “honeycomb” ...


19

Building just another (domestic) launch side is not exactly easy or cheap. There is a lot of logistics to take care of. For your question, you need to understand the history of Russian space flight and Plesetsk. It was build for launching ICBMs over the north pole into north America. Keep in mind that Soyuz rockets were derived from the R-7 rocket, which ...


19

To add to geoffc's excellent answer, another issue that might have been worked out with more testing was the KORD, a computer system for controlling the 30 different engines. Ideally, the KORD would handle the failure of one engine by stopping the engine on the opposite side of the rocket, maintaining symmetry of thrust. However, during the first and second ...


19

These are two microphones of the cosmonaut's headset (шлемофон - hat with headphones and microphones). Two microphones reserve each other. The ДЭМШ-microphone possessed considerable resistance to noise interference and selectivity to voice. For many decades, the ДЭМШ-microphone was installed in almost all Soviet military and professional civilian radio ...


18

The planned landing areas for Apollo command modules were pre-programmed beforehand and happened in the South Pacific. Often the South Pacific, but sometimes the North Pacific or the Atlantic. Both Pacific and Atlantic recovery zones were established for each mission, with multiple ships allocated to each. Was there any remote possibility of a ...


17

Ships were used to receive telemetry. Work in the ocean took place on February 12, 1961. At this time, preparations for the launch of the world's first manned spacecraft Vostok were completed. At the Control Center, a decision is made to use a tracking ships for telemetric monitoring of the onboard equipment of the spacecraft. On April 12, 1961, ...


16

I think @PearsonArtPhoto 's answer misses several major points. From http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/link-suggestion/wpcd_2008-09_augmented/wp/s/Sputnik_1.htm The satellite carried two antennas designed by the Antenna Laboratory of OKB-1 led by M.V.Krayushkin. Each antenna was made up of two whip-like parts: 2.4 and 2.9 meters (7.9 and 9.5 ft) in length, ...


16

Sputnik was the first satellite. It was set up before we had an understanding of how difficult it would be to maintain a satellite's position, and in fact was a very simple system overall. The 4 antennas gives an omnidirectional broadcast pattern. The simplest form of an antenna, a dipole, has two beams going in opposite directions. It's beam pattern looks ...


15

According to this source (in Russian; includes communication log and post-flight debriefing) the only ground stations that are listed as those that were communicating with Gagarin were located in USSR. This leads to conclusion that there were no other tracking stations located elsewhere. The list of the stations: Located at launch site (Baikonur). ...


15

I've found that language barrier problem exists. There are many info in Russian that have no proper translations in English. There were space tracking ships too. Information that USSR had not them at the time is not correct, the first ships were equipped in 1959-60. Sources: 1. http://niskgd.ru/pages/qa.htm quotes: Первые 6 судов, что начали работу до ...


15

Very short answer They are different generations of the same family of interplanetary spacecrafts. Short answer Zond 2, as well as Zond 1 and -3; and Venera 2 and -3, were interplanetary spacecrafts (in Soviet/Russian classification this category falls under "automated interplanetary station") of 3MV family 3MV English Wikipedia page (in Russian "3МВ" 3МВ ...


14

A team called APOLLO (Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation), led by Tom Murphy, professor at UC San Diego uses the lunar retroreflectors. Murphy said his team had occasionally looked for the Lunokhod 1 reflector over the last two years, but faced tall odds against finding it until recently. ... "It turns out we were searching ...


14

There were only four manned Russian programs: Vostok No suborbital flights were made. See Voskhod No suborbital flights were made. See Soyuz There was a two suborbital mission: a failed Soyuz launch in 1975, Soyuz 7K-T No.39 Its apogee was 192km high, for a flight time of 21min. Made it to space but clearly short of orbit. The failure was due to an ...


14

The hatch blew off and the pilot was ejected in a seat. He then separated from the seat and descended on a parachute. This was all kept quiet because of the contemporary FAI rules about manned spacecraft.


13

I believe that would be Soyuz 11 and Salyut 1. After the EVA transfer of Soyuz 4/5, Soyuz 6, 7, and 8 flew together, with the plan apparently being for 7 and 8 to dock and transfer crew while 6 filmed, but some sort of hardware problem prevented the attempt. Soyuz 9 was a long-duration flight of a single spacecraft. Soyuz 10 was supposed to dock with (then ...


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