Sputnik 7 and 8 objects

From: George Olshevsky (george.olshevsky@gmail.com)
Date: Wed Jan 11 2006 - 02:23:43 EST

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    Sputnik 7, launched Feb 4 1961, is known to have been a failed USSR
    attempt to send a probe to Venus. The third stage and probe failed to
    separate from the carrier, which was left in parking orbit and given
    the name Sputnik 7. Three objects were catalogued for this launch:
    1961-002A          71   Sputnik 7
    1961-002B          72   SL-6 Block I second stage
    1961-002C          73   SL-6 hardware
    Sputnik 8, launched Feb 12 1961, was a backup for Sputnik 7, and this
    time the probe separated according to plan and was sent into solar
    orbit, where after 15 days its transmitter failed. It eventually
    passed silently by Venus at a distance of some 100,000 kilometers,
    which wasn't bad for the first-ever attempted mission to another
    planet. The probe was called Venera 1, and I understand it was
    accompanied in solar orbit by its third stage rocket body, which was
    not catalogued (and doesn't appear in most object lists for this
    launch). Four objects were catalogued for this launch, making the list
    1961-003A          80   Venera 1
    1961-003B          76   SL-6 Block I second stage
    1961-003C          77   Sputnik 8
    1961-003D          78   SL-6 hardware
    1961-003E       NNA   SL-6 third stage
    My question pertains to the "hardware" left in parking orbit for both
    launches. Just what might these objects have been? Fairings? Spacer
    stages? I cannot find out anything more about them from any Internet
    website so far. Most sources consider them to be "debris," parts of
    the launch vehicle, hence the name "SL-6 hardware." Sputnik 8 itself
    was the platform or carrier from which Venera 1 and its third stage
    separated, and it seems otherwise not to have been an active payload.
    Also, is there a Block designation for the third stage?
    I'd appreciate further light anyone might shed on this issue.
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