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Zond 5

Zond 5, a member of the Soviet Union's Zond program, was launched from a Tyazheliy Sputnik[?] (68-076B) in Earth parking orbit to make scientific studies during a lunar flyby and to return to Earth. On September 18, 1968, the spacecraft flew around the Moon. The closest distance was 1,950 km. High quality photographs of the Earth were taken at a distance of 90,000 km. A biological payload of turtles, wine flies[?], meal worms[?], plants, seeds, bacteria, and other living matter was included in the flight. On September 21, 1968, the reentry capsule entered the Earth's atmosphere, braked aerodynamically, and deployed parachutes at 7 km. The capsule splashed down in the Indian ocean and was successfully recovered, safely returning the biological payload. It was announced that the turtles had lost about 10% of their body weight but remained active and showed no loss of appetite. The spacecraft was planned as a precursor to manned lunar spacecraft.

  • Launch Date/Time: 1968-09-14 at 21:42:11 UTC
  • On-orbit dry mass: 5375 kg

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