Cosmos 419

Cosmos 419

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Kosmos 419 was launched by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 on May 10, 1971. Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 was at its closest to Earth since 1956 and, in May that year, both the Soviet Union and the United States made new attempts to reach the Red Planet. The payload however failed to separate from the fourth stage of the launch vehicle, and was subsequently designated Kosmos 419. It reentered Earth's atmosphere two days after launch.

The Soviet probe was intended to overtake the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 probes, Mariner 8
Mariner 8
Mariner-H, also commonly known as Mariner 8, was part of the Mariner Mars 71 project. It was intended to go into Mars orbit and return images and data.-Mission description:...

 (which had failed at launch two days earlier) and Mariner 9
Mariner 9
Mariner 9 was a NASA space orbiter that helped in the exploration of Mars and was part of the Mariner program. Mariner 9 was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and reached the planet on November 13 of the same year, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit...

 (that executed a fully successful mission), in the aim of becoming the first Mars orbiter. Kosmos 419 was a part of the Soviet Union's Mars probe program
Mars probe program
The Mars program was a series of unmanned spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1973. The spacecraft were intended to explore Mars, and included flyby probes, landers and orbiters....

 M-71, of which there were 3 missions in 1971, including Mars 2
Mars 2
The Mars program was a series of Mars unmanned landers and orbiters launched by the Soviet Union in the early 1970s.The Mars 2 and Mars 3 missions consisted of identical spacecraft, each with an orbiter and an attached lander; they were the first human artifacts to impact the surface of Mars...

 and Mars 3
Mars 3
The Mars 3 was an unmanned space probe of the Mars program, a series of unmanned Mars landers and orbiters launched by the Soviet Union in the early 1970s....

 in May 1971, only days after Kosmos 419. In a difference of two other members of project M-71, Kosmos 419 was an orbiter only.

The Soviet Union had previously failed in attempts to reach the Red Planet in the 1960s: by the first generation of 3 martian probes (Marsnik program
Marsnik program
Mars 1M was a series of two unmanned spacecraft which were used in the first Soviet missions to explore Mars. They were the earliest missions of the Mars program...

) in 1960, second generation of 2 martian probes (Mars 1
Mars 1
Mars 1, also known as 1962 Beta Nu 1, Mars 2MV-4 and Sputnik 23, was an automatic interplanetary station launched in the direction of Mars on November 1, 1962, the first of the Soviet Mars probe program, with the intent of flying by the planet at a distance of about 11,000 km...

 and Zond 2
Zond 2
Zond 2, a member of the Soviet Zond program, was the fifth Soviet spacecraft to attempt a flyby of Mars. Zond-2 carried a phototelevision camera of the same type later used to photograph the Moon on Zond 3. The camera system also included two ultraviolet spectrometers...

) in 1962 and 1964, and 2 probes (Mars 1969A
Mars 1969A
Mars 2M No.521, also known as Mars M-69 No.521 and sometimes identified by NASA as Mars 1969A, was a Soviet spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure in 1969. It consisted of an orbiter and a lander. The spacecraft was intended to image the surface of Mars using three cameras, with images being...

 and Mars 1969B
Mars 1969B
Mars 2M No.522, also known as Mars M-69 No.522 and sometimes identified by NASA as Mars 1969B, was a Soviet spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure in 1969. It consisted of an orbiter and a lander. The spacecraft was intended to image the surface of Mars using three cameras, with images being...

) in 1969 with similar to M-71 heavy design.

The SL-12/D-1-e Proton booster successfully put the spacecraft into low earth parking orbit
Parking orbit
A parking orbit is a temporary orbit used during the launch of a satellite or other space probe. A launch vehicle boosts into the parking orbit, then coasts for a while, then fires again to enter the final desired trajectory...

 (174 km x 159 km) with an inclination of 51.4 degrees. However, the Block D stage 4 then failed due to a bad ignition timer setting: the timer, intended to start ignition 1.5 hours after orbit was reached, had been erroneously set for 1.5 years. The orbit subsequently decayed and the spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere 2 days later on 12 May 1971. The mission was designated Kosmos 419.

"Beginning in 1962, the name Kosmos was given to Soviet spacecraft which remained in Earth orbit, regardless of whether that was their intended final destination. The designation of this mission as an intended planetary probe is based on evidence from Soviet and non-Soviet sources and historical documents. Typically Soviet planetary missions were initially put into an Earth parking orbit as a launch platform with a rocket engine and attached probe. The probes were then launched toward their targets with an engine burn with a duration of roughly 4 minutes. If the engine misfired or the burn was not completed, the probes would be left in Earth orbit and given a Kosmos designation."