Cosmos 41 represented a departure in Soviet flight operations. The launch started with the orbiting of a Tyazheliy Sputnik (an orbital platform used in deep space missions). As this orbital platform approached Africa on the first revolution, a probe rocket was fired that carried the payload into an elliptical orbit with a period that allowed the payload to repeat close to the earth in the Southern Hemisphere, then climbed at a slowing rate to give about 8 hr of visibility for virtually all of the Soviet Union, gradually accelerated toward perigee, and made another slow climb to be again in view of much of North America and the north Pacific. The vehicle not only provided excellent coverage at northern latitudes, but also provided simultaneous visibility of both polar regions at apogee. The mission of this flight included gathering space environmental data and testing onboard flight systems.