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Sputnik 3 (D-1 #1, 2)


The D-1 satellite, better known as Sputnik 3 was the first complex scientific satellite.

Originally planned to be the first satellite to be launched, it suffered delays and instead the simpler PS-1 became, by the name of Sputnik 1, the first satellite to orbit earth.

The 1327 kg D-1 satellite consisted of a conical pressurized body and was powered by batteries for a lifetime of one month. It had no stabilisation systems. A tape recorder recorded the data and allowed playback of data from parts of the orbit beyond the range of ground stations. Scientific instruments included a magnetometer and field-mill electrometer to measure fields in space, four space radiation detectors to study cosmic and solar particle radiation, a mass spectrometer and two pressure gauges to analyze the rarified outer atmosphere, an ion trap to measure plasma, and a piezoelectric microphone to count micrometeorite strikes. Also on board was an experimental solar batterie to power one of the transmitters.

Following experiments were on board:

  • Fluxgate Magnetometer
  • Field Mill Electrometer
  • Spherical Ion Traps
  • Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
  • Ionization Manometer
  • Magnetic Manometer
  • Piezo-Electric Meteorite Counter
  • Silicon Solar Battery
  • Cherenkov Heavy-Nuclei Counter
  • Zinc Sulfide Fluoroscopes
  • Gas Discharge Counters
  • Sodium Iodide Scintillation Counter

The first D-1 satellite was launched on 27th April 1958, but failed to reach orbit as the launch vehicle was destroyed by an excessive pogo-effect 88 seconds into the flight.

The second satellite was launched successfully on 15th May 1958 and received the name Sputnik 3. It operated for about one month.

Nation: USSR
Type / Application: Scientific
Equipment: See above
Propulsion: None
Power: Batteries, solar cells
Lifetime: ~ 1 month
Mass: 1327 kg
Orbit: 217 km × 1864 km, 65.2
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Sputnik (3) (D-1 #1) 1958-F03 27.04.1958 Ba LC-1/5 F Sputnik (8A91)
Sputnik 3 (D-1 #2) 1958 δ 2 15.05.1958 Ba LC-1/5 Sputnik (8A91)


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