May 15 1958 CE – The Space Laboratory Sputnik 3 is Launched by the Soviet Union

May 15 1958 CE – The Space Laboratory Sputnik 3 is Launched by the Soviet Union
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On May 15, 1958, the USSR launched the only Soviet satellite that year – Sputnik 3. Sputnik 3 made it into orbit during the International Geophysical Year (IGY), an international project that was conducted between July 1, 1957 and December 31, 1958. Sputnik 3 was a research satellite and a space lab. It was launched into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Tyuratum) launch site in the USSR by a modified R7/SS-6 ICBM. The launch vehicle of the Sputnik 3 was a modified SS-6 (Sapwood).The R-7 launcher, “semyorka”, is a derivation of the R7 Soviet ballistic missile developed during the Cold War. Sputnik 3 was charged with the exploration of the upper strata of the Earth’s atmosphere and near-space regions. Sputnik 3 was an extensively equipped space science laboratory. The satellite remained in orbit till April 6, 1960.

In 1956, the Soviet Union drew up a plan to build the first Artificial Earth Satellite (ISZ). The designers of OKB-1, USSR’s leading satellite designing agency planned the design for what they referred to as Object D (which later came to be known as Sputnik 3). Designing Sputnik 3 began in January 1956. The intent was to launch it during the IGY. Sputnik 3 was not the first satellite launched by the Soviet Union as planned. Major challenges in developing the comprehensive telemetry system delayed the launch. Meanwhile, the new R-7 ballistic missile called 8K71 was ready for launch. “Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1” was launched in October 1957. The Sputnik 2 (PS-2) was launched the following month. Object D, or Sputnik 3 was planned for launch the following year.

The first launch of Sputnik 3 was planned for April 27, 1958. The 8A91 version of the R-7 rocket, which was the launch vehicle, took place at Tyuratam in Kazakhstan at 0701 UT. With the ascent of the rocket, a longitudinal resonance vibrations effect called “pogo” set in. The vibrations in the strap-on boosters increased and the propellant tanks emptied over a minute after its launch. The successful launch happened through the backup rocket and satellite at 0700 UT on May 15, 1958. The 1327 kg (2925.5lbs) satellite entered a 230 -1880 km orbit at an inclination of 65.2 degrees.

Upon launch Sputnik 3, separated from the core of its launch vehicle. Sputnik 3 became the first Soviet satellite to carry a complete telemetry, tracking and command radio system.

Also On This Day:

1930 – Ellen Church becomes the first airline stewardess.

1937 – America’s first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, is born.

1951 – AT&T becomes the first corporation to have one million stockholders.

1957 – Britain drops its first hydrogen bomb on Christmas Island.

2008 – California declares gay marriages as legal.

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