Open main menu

Molniya-1 No.2, was the first Soviet communications satellite to be launched. It was a 1,600-kilogram (3,500 lb) Molniya-1 spacecraft, however it failed to achieve orbit due to a malfunction of the rocket which was carrying it.[1] It was intended to operate in a Molniya orbit, from where it would be used to demonstrate communications between parts of the USSR.

Molniya-1 No.2
Mission typeCommunications
Mission durationFailed to orbit
1.5 years (planned)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeMolniya-1
Launch mass1,422 kilograms (3,135 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date4 June 1964, 05:00 (1964-06-04UTC05Z) UTC
RocketMolniya 8K78 s/n R103-34
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5

Molniya-1 No.2 was launched at 05:00 UTC on 4 June 1964, atop a Molniya 8K78 carrier rocket, flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.[2] A motor circuit in the servo controlling the core stage throttle failed 104 seconds into the flight, resulting in the throttle becoming jammed closed and the fuel supply to the engines being stopped.[3] Prior to the release of information about its mission, NASA had incorrectly identified the launch of Molniya-1 No.2 as a failed attempt to launch a Zond spacecraft on a circumlunar technology demonstration mission, and assigned it the placeholder designation Zond 1964A.[4]


  1. ^ Wade, Mark. "Molniya-1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  2. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  3. ^ Wade, Mark. "Soyuz". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  4. ^ Williams, David R. (6 January 2005). "Tentatively Identified Missions and Launch Failures". NASA NSSDC. Retrieved 30 July 2010.