Sputnik 2 Launch

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Sputnik 2's launch vehicle had several modifications for the mission. These included modifying the launch trajectory to use propellant more efficiently and removing some flight control components to reduce weight. In addition, the core stage would be burned to propellant depletion instead of cutting off at a preset time. The telemetry system at engine cutoff would be switched from monitoring the booster's parameters to those of the capsule. It was also designed to only transmit data for ten minutes at a time every 90 minutes, so as to prevent battery power from being used up sending data while the spacecraft was out of range of Soviet tracking stations. The interstage section between the booster and capsule was highly polished and equipped with thermal blankets so as to reflect off sunlight and keep the latter cool; also, several deployable reflectors were mounted on the core stage. A braking nozzle was added to the core stage to prevent it from tumbling in orbit; this would work by venting excess helium gas from the propellant tank pressurization system. Several RD-107 engines were test-fired, with the best-performing units being selected for use on Sputnik 2's booster. The launch vehicle arrived at Baikonur on 22 October, along with various parts of the capsule. On 1 November, the booster was erected on LC-1.

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