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Sputnik 19



Sputnik 19 was a Venera-type spacecraft intended to make a landing on Venus. The SL-6/A-2-e launcher put the spacecraft into Earth orbit on 25 August 1962, but the escape stage failed and the probe remained in geocentric orbit for three days until the orbit decayed on 28 August and it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

Sputnik 19 was a Venera-type (2MV-1) lander with power supplied by 2.6 square meters of solar panels powering a 42 amp/hr cadmium-nickel battery. Thermal control was achieved by epoxy-resin heat shields and an ammonia-based cooling system. Sun-Earth sensors were used for spacecraft pointing. Communications were via a 1 m wavelength omni-directional antenna, a 1.7 high-gain antenna at 5 cm, 8 cm, and 32 cm wavelengths, and a small antennae on the solar panels at 1.6 m wavelength. The spacecraft scientific payload comprised ultraviolet detectors, a chemical gas analyzer, temperature, density, and pressure sensors, a gamma-ray counter, movement detector, a surface gamma-ray detector, and a meteorite detector.

Mission Profile

After achieving Earth parking orbit a ullage maneuver was attempted to settle the fuel and point the block L 4th stage in the correct direction for Venus transfer firing. One of the four small solid-fuel rockets failed to fire, leaving the spacecraft pointed in the wrong direction. When the firing occurred, the spacecraft began to tumble violently and cut out from lack of fuel after 45 seconds. It remained in geocentric orbit for 3 days until the orbit decayed on 28 August and Sputnik 19 re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.

This spacecraft was originally designated Sputnik 23 in the U.S. Naval Space Command Satellite Situation Summary.

Spacecraft image for illustrative purposes - not necessarily in the public domain.

Alternate Names

  • Alpha Pi 1
  • Sputnik 23 (USNSC)
  • 00372

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1962-08-25
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with 2nd Generation Upper Stage + Escape Stage
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 890.0 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (U.S.S.R)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams.


Selected References

Shelton, W., Soviet space exploration - the first decade, Arthur Barker Ltd., Unnumbered, London, England, 1969.

Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England, 1996.

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