Re: Cosmos 382 mission

Phillip Clark (
Sat, 2 Aug 1997 16:33:26 +0100 (BST)

On Sat, 2 Aug 1997, Alexander Seidel wrote:

> In the Seventies I often observed Cosmos 382 (1970-103A, Cat-No. 4786), an 
> enigmatic object in an unusual orbit.

This mission has been described in Russian literature now - for example 
the Kamanin Diaries.

This mission and a similar launch failure in November 1969 were 
designated L-1E and were primarily tests of the Block D fourth stage atop 
Proton-K.   These two launches took the L-1 spacecraft which had been 
intended for manned circumlunar missions, stripped out the life 
support systems and installed a great deal of monitoring equipment.   The 
primary goal was to test the Block D's manoeuvres for lunar orbit 
injection and the descent to the lunar surface while in Earth orbit, to 
prove that the Block D could still perform following a simulated quiet 
period during the trans-lunar coast.   It is unclear whether the L-1 
spacecraft separated and performed the final manoeuvre itself - I believe 
that it did - leaving the Block D to perform the initial Earth orbit 
injection and then two manoeuvres before the L-1 spacecraft separated.

Cosmos 382 appears to have been successful, obviously the November 1969 
launch "was not". :-)

Phillip Clark

Phillip S Clark                                       25 Redfern Avenue
Molniya Space Consultancy                             Whitton
Compiler/Publisher, Worldwide Satellite Launches      Middx   TW4 5NA
Editor, Jane's Space Directory                        U.K.

Specialist in "space archeology" - the older and more obscure the more 
interesting it is !