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November 10, 1960

Report from D. Ustinov et al on Preparations for Two Test Flights of the Vostok-A Prototype

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November 10, 1960

  (secrecy stamp)


We report that at the present time two Vostok-A type satellite-ships [korabl’-sputnik] have been prepared for launch.[1]


The launch of these spacecraft should create the preconditions for launches of the Vostok-3A type satellite-ships designed for a manned flight into outer space.


Some of the main circuit and design data in the design of the Vostok-3A satellite-ship should be checked in the planned launches of the Vostok-A satellite-ships. They include:


the launch of a spacecraft into an elliptical orbit with a perigee of 180 km. In an emergency (failure of the braking engine unit) such an orbit would ensure the descent of the craft through atmospheric braking during future manned flights;


the orientation of the craft relative to the Sun during its descent;


descent to the designated region along a ballistic trajectory, to which the craft is moved by the braking motor device by commands sent from the Earth;


providing in the airtight cabin the conditions necessary for the existence of living organisms with the aid of a chemical air generation system and a thermal regulation system.


There will be experimental animals on board the craft – two dogs, laboratory mice, rats, a guinea pig, and also a number of biological objects intended for the study of the question of radiation danger during spaceflights.


A scientific apparatus installed on the craft is designed for the study of cosmic rays and short-wave radiation of the Sun.


The transmission of scientific measurement information from the satellite-ship to Earth will be done with the aid of television and telemetry systems. The Signal radio transmitter operating on the frequency of 19.995 MHz ensures the possibility of reception of the radio signals of the satellite by a broad network of ground stations of the entire world.


The on-board apparatus is powered from chemical sources of current and solar batteries.


Control of the operation of the on-board apparatus of the craft will be exercised from the ground through a command radio link.


The flight program of the satellite-ship is calculated for one day. In the event of a descent system failure an automatic system is provided to destroy the satellite-ship 60 hours after its launch.


We request permission to conduct launches of the Vostok-A satellite-ships.[2]


D. Ustinov[3]

M. Keldysh[4]

S. Korolev[5]

K. Rudnev[6]

K. Moskalenko[7]





[1] The Vostok-A and Vostok-3A variants were also confusingly referred to in many documents as the Vostok-1 and Vostok-3KA variants, respectively.

[2] Permission was granted as by Presidium of the Central Committee decree Nº P310/142 of November 24, 1960, entitled “The Question of the Commission of the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers for Military-Industrial Questions” (see: APRF, f. 3, op. 47, d. 277, ll. 112-114).

[3] Dmitriy Fedorovich Ustinov (1908-1984) was chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission.

[4] Mstislav Vsevolodich Keldysh (1911-1978) was vice-president of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

[5] Sergey Pavlovich Korolev (1907-1966) was chief designer of OKB-1.

[6] Konstantin Nikolayevich Rudnev (1911-1980) was chairman of the State Committee of Defense Technology.

[7] Kirill Semenovich Moskalenko (1902-1985) was commander-in-chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces.

Report from industrial leaders, scientists, and designers to the Central Committee on preparations for two test flights of the Vostok-A prototype before human space mission on Vostok-3A variant

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Selected, edited, and annotated by Asif Siddiqi. Translated by Gary Goldberg and Angela Greenfield.


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