Soyuz 2 (Russian: Союз 2, Union 2) was an uncrewed spacecraft in the Soyuz family intended to be the target of a docking maneuver by the crewed Soyuz 3 spacecraft. It was intended to be the first docking of a crewed spacecraft in the Soviet space program. Although the two craft approached closely, the docking did not take place and the first successful Soviet docking of crewed spacecraft took place in the joint Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 mission. It served for the radio search and as a target vehicle for docking by the crewed Soyuz 3. Soyuz 2 soft-landed in a predetermined area of the Soviet Union.[1]

Soyuz 2
Mission typeTest flight
OperatorExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
COSPAR ID1968-093A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.03511
Mission duration3 days
Orbits completed48
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz 7K-OK No.2
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-OK (passive)
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
Launch mass6,520 kg (14,370 lb) [1]
Landing mass2,800 kg (6,200 lb)
Dimensions7.13 m (23.4 ft) long
2.72 m (8 ft 11 in) wide
Start of mission
Launch date25 October 1968, 09:00 GMT
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 1/5[2]
ContractorExperimental Design Bureau
End of mission
Landing date28 October 1968, 07:51 GMT
Landing siteKazakh Steppe, Kazakhstan
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[3]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude196.0 km (121.8 mi)
Apogee altitude200.0 km (124.3 mi)
Period88.50 minutes
← Soyuz 1
Soyuz 3 →

Mission parametersEdit

  • Mass: 6,520 kg (14,370 lb) [1]
  • Perigee: 196.0 km (121.8 mi) [3]
  • Apogee: 200.0 km (124.3 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.65°
  • Period: 88.50 minutes

"Crew" hoaxEdit

Conceptual artist Joan Fontcuberta claimed in 1997 that Soyuz 2 was crewed by Ivan Istochnikov and a dog named Kloka, who disappeared on 26 October 1968, with signs of having been hit by a meteorite. According to Fontcuberta, Soviet officials deleted Istochnikov from official Soviet history to avoid embarrassment; however, the "Sputnik Foundation" discovered Istochnikov's "voice transcriptions, videos, original annotations, some of his personal effects, and photographs taken throughout his lifetime". The exhibition of artifacts (e.g., photographs) related to "Soyuz 2" was shown in many countries, including Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Japan, and the United States.[4][5] Among other reactions to the exhibition, a Russian ambassador "got extremely angry because [Fontcuberta] was insulting the glorious Russian past and threatened to present a diplomatic complaint".

Several lines of evidence available since the first exhibition of "Sputnik" in 1997 in Madrid suggested that the story and artifacts form an elaborate hoax:

  • The name "Ivan Istochnikov" is a Russian translation of Joan Fontcuberta's name; in specific, "Joan" and "Ivan" both translate to "John"[6][7] and "Fontcuberta" and "Istochnikov" both mean "hidden fountain".
  • The photographs of Istochnikov show Fontcuberta's face.
  • Pages of the official website of the Madrid exhibition contain the words "PURE FICTION" toward the top of each page in light red text on a dark red background [8] or light pink text on a white background.[9]
  • The front and rear endpapers of the catalog accompanying the Madrid exhibition have the words "it's all fiction" in Russian and Spanish printed on them using glow-in-the-dark ink.[10]
  • At the website of Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the third of three pages concerning the Madrid exhibition states that "the report which we published on the previous pages is a product of his [Fontcuberta's] imagination".[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Display: Soyuz 2 1968-093A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Trajectory: Soyuz 2 1968-093A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ a b Pérez de Albéniz, Javier, El cosmonauta fantasma El Mundo magazine, 25 May 1997, Retrieved 1 July 2008
  5. ^ Curtis, Mary Jo, Artists mix fact and fantasy in False Witness exhibition at Bell Gallery Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University, 17 January 2001, Retrieved 1 July 2008
  6. ^ English Catalan Dictionary. Retrieved 1 July 2008
  7. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary: Ivan Retrieved 1 July 2008
  8. ^ Sputnik Foundation Archived 5 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine "From May 21st to July 20th, 1997" Retrieved 1 July 2008
  9. ^ Texts from the SPUTNIK catalog. Archived 21 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 1 July 2008
  10. ^ Kondakova, Olga, et al., Sputnik, Madrid: Fundación Arte y Tecnologia, 1997 ISBN 84-89884-00-5

Further readingEdit

  • Luna Cornea, Number 14, January/April 1998, p. 58
  • The Fabricated Cosmonaut and the Nonexistent Prophecy, Luis Alfonso Gamez, Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 30, number 5 (September/October 2006) p. 12

External linksEdit