Korabl-Sputnik 1

  (Redirected from Sputnik 4)

Korabl-Sputnik 1[3] (Russian: Корабль Спутник 1 meaning Vessel Satellite 1), also known as Sputnik 4 in the West,[2] was the first test flight of the Soviet Vostok programme, and the first Vostok spacecraft. It was launched on May 15, 1960. Though Korabl-Sputnik 1 was unmanned, it was a precursor to the first human spaceflight, Vostok 1. Its mass was 4,540 kilograms (10,010 lb), of which 1,477 kilograms (3,256 lb) was instrumentation. [1] 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. The descent module re-entered the atmosphere on September 6, 1962.[2] A 20 pound piece, still warm, was found in the middle of North 8th Street by two city police officers in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in the northern United States.[4][5] An annual commemoration, "Sputnikfest", is now held near the same date each year at the Rahr-West Museum, located within a few dozen feet of the impact site.

Korabl-Sputnik 1
Mission typeTechnology
Harvard designation1960 Epsilon 3
COSPAR ID1960-005A
SATCAT no.36
Mission duration4 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeVostok-1P
Launch mass4,540 kilograms (10,010 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date15 May 1960, 00:00:05 (1960-05-15UTC00:00:05Z) UTC
RocketVostok-L 8K72 s/n L1-11
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5
End of mission
DisposalFailed deorbit
c. 19 May 1960
Decay date5 September 1962 (1962-09-06)[2]
Landing site44°05′56″N 87°39′28″W / 44.098951°N 87.657689°W / 44.098951; -87.657689
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude290 kilometres (160 nmi)[1]
Apogee altitude675 kilometres (364 nmi)
Inclination65.02 degrees
Period94.25 minutes
Epoch1960-05-15 00:00:00 UTC
Ring marking the location of the impact in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

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 retro rocket was fired and the descent module was separated from its equipment module, but because of an incorrect attitude the spacecraft did not reenter the atmosphere as planned.[2] The descent module re-entered the atmosphere on September 6, 1962, while the equipment module re-entered on October 15, 1965.[6]

Giovanni Battista Judica Cordiglia, who set up his own amateur listening station at Torre Bert near Turin, is reported to have claimed that radio signals were received on November 28, 1960 which could have originated from this spacecraft; the spacecraft is known to have radioed prerecorded voice communications. It has led some to believe a conspiracy theory that the spacecraft may have been manned by the Lost Cosmonauts.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "1960-005A (ε1) - Kosmičeskij korabl' 1". Space 40 encyclopedia.
  2. ^ a b c d "Sputnik 4 - NSSDC ID: 1960-005A". NASA.
  3. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  4. ^ Sputnik Crashed Here, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
  5. ^ "Sputnik IV Spot Is Marked". Manitowoc Herald-Times. 26 January 1978.
  6. ^ Hall and Shayer, p.122
  7. ^ Interview with Gian Cordiglia


  • Rex Hall, David Shayler (May 18, 2001). The rocket men: Vostok & Voskhod, the first Soviet manned spaceflights. Springer. p. 350. ISBN 1-85233-391-X.