Encyclopedia Astronautica
Luna E-1A



luna2.jpg
Luna 2 / E-1A
Credit: NASA
Russian lunar impact probe. 2 launches, 1959.06.18 (Luna) to 1959.09.12 (Luna 2). First probe to impact lunar surface. Delivered a pennant to the surface of the Moon and conducted research during flight to the Moon.

Gross mass: 387 kg (853 lb).
First Launch: 1959.06.18.
Last Launch: 1959.09.12.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Soyuz Russian orbital launch vehicle. The world's first ICBM became the most often used and most reliable launch vehicle in history. The original core+four strap-on booster missile had a small third stage added to produce the Vostok launch vehicle, with a payload of 5 metric tons. Addition of a larger third stage produced the Voskhod/Soyuz vehicle, with a payload over 6 metric tons. Using this with a fourth stage, the resulting Molniya booster placed communications satellites and early lunar and planetary probes in higher energy trajectories. By the year 2000 over 1,628 had been launched with an unmatched success rate of 97.5% for production models. Improved models providing commercial launch services for international customers entered service in the new millenium, and a new launch pad at Kourou was to be inaugurated in 2009. It appeared that the R-7 could easily still be in service 70 years after its first launch. More...
  • Luna 8K72 Russian orbital launch vehicle. R-7 ICBM with single-engine upper stage used for early Soviet unmanned lunar shots. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Luna Soviet lunar probe series. Lunas were the first manmade objects to attain of escape velocity; to impact on the moon; to photograph the far side of the moon; to soft land on the moon; to retrieve and return lunar surface samples to the earth; and to deploy a lunar rover on the moon's surface. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Varfolomyev, Timothy, "Soviet Rocketry that Conquered Space - Part 3", Spaceflight, 1996, Volume 38, page 206.
  • National Space Science Center Planetary Page, As of 19 February 1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Luna E-1A Chronology


1959 June 18 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 I1-7. FAILURE: Inertial system failed at 153 seconds after launch. Vehicle destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Luna failure - inertial system failed at T+153 seconds - . Payload: E-1A s/n 5. Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-1A. COSPAR: F590618A.

1959 September 12 - . 06:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 I1-7B.
  • Luna 2 - . Payload: E-1A s/n 6. Mass: 387 kg (853 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-1A. Decay Date: 1959-09-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 114 . COSPAR: 1959-Xi-1. First probe to impact lunar surface. Delivered a pennant to the surface of the Moon and conducted research during flight to the Moon. Impacted Moon 13 Sep 1959 at 22:02:04 UT, Latitude 29.10 N, Longitude 0.00 - Palus Putredinis, east of Mare Serenitatis near the Aristides, Archimedes, and Autolycus craters. After launch and attainment of escape velocity, Luna 2 separated from its third stage, which travelled along with it towards the Moon. On 13 September the spacecraft released a bright orange cloud of sodium gas which aided in spacecraft tracking and acted as an experiment on the behavior of gas in space. On 14 September, after 33.5 hours of flight, radio signals from Luna 2 abruptly ceased, indicating it had impacted on the Moon. Some 30 minutes after Luna 2, the third stage of its rocket also impacted the Moon. The mission confirmed that the Moon had no appreciable magnetic field, and found no evidence of radiation belts at the Moon.

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