Encyclopedia Astronautica
Luna



lunarvka.jpg
Ye-8 lunar probe
Ye-8 lunar sample return spacecraft - detail of drill and re-entry vehicle
Credit: © Mark Wade
luna9.jpg
Luna 9
Korolev / Lavochkin E-6M spacecraft as flown on Luna 9 first soft landing on the moon.
Credit: Andy Salmon
luna13.jpg
Luna 13
Korolev / Lavochkin E-6M spacecraft as flown on Luna 13 with soil probe.
Credit: Andy Salmon
luna15.jpg
Luna 17
lunokhod.jpg
Lunokhod
The Lunokhod unmanned lunar surface rover.
Credit: Lavochkin
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... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Korolev Korolev, Sergei Pavlovich (1907-1966) Soviet Chief Designer, responsible for creating the first long range ballistic missiles, the first space launchers, the first artificial satellite, and putting the first man in space. After his premature death the Soviets lagged in space. More...
  • Glushko Glushko, Valentin Petrovich (1908-1989) Soviet Chief Designer, responsible for all large liquid propellant engines for missiles and LVs. Led Glushko bureau, 1946-1974; Headed NPO Energia 1974-1989, directing development of Energia launch vehicle and Buran spaceplane. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Luna E-1 Russian lunar impact probe. 4 launches, 1958.09.23 (Luna failure) to 1959.01.02 (Luna 1). The first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity and the first to reach the Moon. The spacecraft was sphere-shaped. Five antennae extended from one hemisphere. More...
  • Luna E-1A 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. More...
  • Luna E-3 Russian lunar flyby probe. 3 launches, 1959.10.04 (Luna 3) to 1960.04.19 (Luna). The E-3 was designed to loop around the moon and photograph the Moon's far side. More...
  • Luna E-6 Russian lunar lander. 12 launches, 1963.01.04 (Sputnik 25) to 1966.01.31 (Luna 9). E-6 probes were designed by Korolev's OKB-1 with the objective of making the first soft landing on the moon and beaming back pictures of the surface. More...
  • Luna E-6S Russian lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1966.03.01 (Cosmos 111) to 1966.03.31 (Luna 10). More...
  • Luna E-6LF Russian lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1966.08.24 (Luna 11) to 1966.10.22 (Luna 12). Photographed lunar surface and orbital space environment in preparation for manned missions. More...
  • Luna E-6M Russian lunar lander. One launch, 1966.12.21, Luna 13. Modernized version of the E-6 with the ALS lander mass increased from 84 kg to 150 kg. Conducted further scientific investigation of the moon and circumlunar space. More...
  • Luna Ye-8 Russian lunar rover. 3 launches, 1969.02.19 (Ye-8 s/n 201) to 1973.01.08 (Luna 21). More...
  • Luna Ye-8-5 Russian lunar lander. 11 launches, 1969.06.14 (Ye-8-5 VA) to 1975.10.16 (Luna 24). Unmanned lunar soil sample return. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-L1E Russian manned lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1969.11.28 (Soyuz 7K-L1E s/n 1) and 1970.12.02 (Cosmos 382). Modification of Soyuz circumlunar configuration used in propulsion tests of the Block D stage. More...
  • Luna Ye-8-LS Russian lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1971.09.28 (Luna 19) to 1974.05.29 (Luna 22). Lunar surface mapping. Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). Investigation of the moon and near-lunar space from the orbit of an artificial satellite. More...

See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Luna 8K72 Russian orbital launch vehicle. R-7 ICBM with single-engine upper stage used for early Soviet unmanned lunar shots. More...
  • Molniya 8K78 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Four stage derivative of the R-7 ICBM developed on a crash-program basis in 1960 for Soviet lunar and planetary deep space probe missions. The third stage found later use in the Voskhod and Soyuz launchers. By the 1970's mature versions of the launch vehicle were used almost entirely for launch of Molniya communications satellites and Oko missile early warning spacecraft into elliptical, 12-hour earth orbits. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya, in variants with Blocks ML, 2BL, or SO-L third stages according to payload. More...
  • Proton-K/D Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was originally designed to send manned circumlunar spacecraft into translunar trajectory. Guidance to the Block D stage must be supplied by spacecraft. The design was proposed on 8 September 1965 by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon. The Korolev design was selected, and first flight came on 10 March 1967. The crash lunar program led to a poor launch record. Following a protracted ten year test period, the booster finally reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...
  • Proton-K/D-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This derivative of the original four stage Block D / 11S824 version of the Proton was used from 1978 to launch Lavochkin OKB planetary probes (Mars, Venera) and high earth orbit astronomical observatories (Astron, Granat). Guidance to the Block D-1 stage must be supplied by spacecraft. Equipped with N2O4/UDMH verniers for precise placement of payloads in high orbits or planetary trajectories. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...
  • MVS Russian agency. Ministry of Defence, Russia. More...
  • RVSN Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Raketniye Voiska Stratigcheskovo Naznacheniya (Russian Strategic Rocket Forces), Russia. More...
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...

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 Chronology


1958 March 20 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72.
  • Soviet lunar probes authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. Summary: Decree 'On work on automated lunar probes and three-stage launch vehicles for them' was issued..

1958 September 2 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72.
  • Launch of Soviet Luna probes authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. Summary: Decree 'On launch of automated lunar probes November' was issued..

1958 September 23 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 B1-3. FAILURE: Launcher disintegrated 93 seconds after launch due to longitudinal resonance of strap-ons.. Failed Stage: 0.
  • Luna failure - booster disintegrated at T+92 seconds - . Payload: E-1 s/n 1. Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Glushko; Korolev. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. COSPAR: F580923A. Summary: This was the start of an acrimonious debated between Glushko and Korolev design bureaux over the fault and fix for the problem..

1958 October 11 - . 08:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 B1-4. FAILURE: Launcher disintegrated 104 seconds after launch due to longitudinal resonance of strap-ons.. Failed Stage: 0.
  • Luna failure - booster disintegrated at T+104 seconds - . Payload: E-1 s/n 2. Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. COSPAR: F581011A.

1958 December 4 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 B1-5. FAILURE: Core engines shut off at 245 seconds into the flight. Cause was a loss of lubrication to the hydrogen peroxide pump.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Luna failure - booster core shut down at T+245 seconds - . Payload: E-1 s/n 3. Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. COSPAR: F581204A.

1959 January 2 - . 16:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 B1-6. FAILURE: Failure of the launch vehicle control system.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Luna 1 - . Payload: E-1 s/n 4. Mass: 361 kg (795 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. USAF Sat Cat: 112 . COSPAR: 1959-Mu-1. Lunar probe; passed within 5,995 km of moon but did not hit it as planned due to a failure of the launch vehicle control system. Went into solar orbit. First manmade object to attain of escape velocity. Also known as Mechta ("Dream"), popularly called Lunik I. Because of its high velocity and its announced package of various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms, it was concluded that Luna 1 was intended to impact the Moon. After reaching escape velocity, Luna 1 separated from its 1472 kg third stage. The third stage, 5.2 m long and 2.4 m in diameter, travelled along with Luna 1. On 3 January, at a distance of 113,000 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft. This glowing orange trail of gas, visible over the Indian Ocean with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star, allowed astronomers to track the spacecraft. It also served as an experiment on the behavior of gas in outer space. Luna 1 passed within 5,995 km of the Moon's surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. It went into orbit around the Sun, between the orbits of Earth and Mars. The measurements obtained during this mission provided new data on the Earth's radiation belt and outer space, including the discovery that the Moon had no magnetic field and that a solar wind, a strong flow of ionized plasma emmanating from the Sun, streamed through interplanetary space.

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.

1959 October 4 - . 00:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 I1-8.
  • Luna 3 - . Payload: E-2A s/n 1. Mass: 279 kg (615 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-3. Decay Date: 1960-04-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 21 . COSPAR: 1959-Theta-1. Apogee: 499,998 km (310,683 mi). Perigee: 500 km (310 mi). Inclination: 55.0000 deg. Period: 21,563.20 min. Luna 3 was the third spacecraft successfully launched to the Moon and the first to return images of the lunar far side. It was launched on a figure-eight trajectory which brought it over the Moon (closest approach to the Moon was 6200 km) and around the far side, which was sunlit at the time. It was stabilized while in optical view of the far side of the Moon. On October 7, 1959, the television system obtained a series of 29 photographs over 40 minutes, covering 70% of the surface, that were developed on-board the spacecraft. The photographs were scanned and 17 were radio transmitted to ground stations in facsimile form on October 18, 1959, as the spacecraft, in a barycentric orbit, returned near the Earth. The photographs were to be retransmitted at another point close to Earth but were not received. The spacecraft returned very indistinct pictures, but, through computer enhancement, a tentative atlas of the lunar farside was produced. These first views of the lunar far side showed mountainous terrain, very different from the near side, and two dark regions which were named Mare Moscovrae (Sea of Moscow) and Mare Desiderii (Sea of Dreams).

1960 April 15 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 L1-9. FAILURE: The third stage RO-5 engine either did not reach full thrust or shut down early.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Luna failure - third stage insufficient delta V - . Payload: E-3 s/n 1. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-3. Decay Date: 1960-04-15 . COSPAR: F600415A. Summary: Reached an altitude of 200,000 km before plunging back to earth..

1960 April 16 - . 16:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Luna 8K72. LV Configuration: Vostok-L 8K72 L1-9A. FAILURE: Strap-on B reached only 75 percent of thrust at ignition. Four tenths of a second after liftoff it broke away from the core.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Luna failure at lift-off - . Payload: E-3 s/n 2. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-3. Decay Date: 1960-04-16 . COSPAR: F600419A. Summary: This dramatic failure resulted in a loss of thrust, and the lateral strap-on units separated and flew over the tracking stations and living areas. The core continued on its trajectory..

1963 January 4 - . 08:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 T103-09. FAILURE: The escape stage's BOZ unit failed to operate due to failure of a DC transformer of the power system. The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Sputnik 25 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 1. Nation: USSR. Agency: Korolev. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-01-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 522 . COSPAR: 1963-001B. Apogee: 189 km (117 mi). Perigee: 165 km (102 mi). Inclination: 64.6000 deg. Period: 88.00 min.

1963 February 3 - . 09:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 G103-10. FAILURE: Upper stage gyro platform failure.. Failed Stage: G.
  • E-6 s/n 2 failure. - . Payload: E-6 s/n 2. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-02-03 . COSPAR: F630203A. Summary: Apparent causes were instabilities in the torque sensor circuit and the pitch-free floating gyro device. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere over the Pacific..

1963 April 2 - . 08:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 G103-11.
  • Luna 4 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 3. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-04-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 563 . COSPAR: 1963-008A. Apogee: 182 km (113 mi). Perigee: 167 km (103 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 87.98 min. Luna 4 was the second attempted Soviet unmanned lunar soft lander probe. The spacecraft, rather than being sent on a straight trajectory toward the Moon, was placed first in an earth parking orbit. The rocket stage then reignited and put the spaccecraft on a translunar trajectory. Failure of Luna 4 to make a required midcourse correction resulted in it missing the Moon by 8336.2 km on April 6, at 4:26 a.m. Moscow time. It thereafter entered a barycentric Earth orbit. The Soviet news agency, Tass, reported that data had been received from the spacecraft throughout its flight and that radio communication would continue for a few more days.

1964 March 21 - . 08:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M T15000-20. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Luna failure - . Payload: E-6 s/n 4. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1964-03-21 . COSPAR: F640321A. Summary: The upper stages burnt on re-entry into the atmosphere..

1964 April 20 - . 08:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M T15000-21. FAILURE: Power failure caused upper stage shutdown at T+340 seconds.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Luna failure - . Payload: E-6 s/n 5. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1964-04-20 . COSPAR: F640420A. Summary: The upper stages broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere...

1965 March 12 - . 09:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 R103-25. FAILURE: The escape stage Block L's engine failed to ignite due to failure of a transformer in the power supply of the control system.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Cosmos 60 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 9. Mass: 6,530 kg (14,390 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-03-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 1246 . COSPAR: 1965-018A. Apogee: 248 km (154 mi). Perigee: 195 km (121 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 88.90 min. Summary: The stage with the payload remained in Earth orbit as Kosmos-60..

1965 April 10 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 R103-26. FAILURE: Stage 3's engine 8D715K failed due to depressurization of the nitrogen pipeline of the LOX tank pressurization system of Block I.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Luna failure - stage 3 engine failure. - . Payload: E-6 s/n 8. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-04-10 . COSPAR: F650410A. Summary: The upper stages fell apart on re-entry into the atmosphere...

1965 May 9 - . 07:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M U103-30.
  • Luna 5 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 10. Mass: 1,474 kg (3,249 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-05-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 1366 . COSPAR: 1965-036A. Apogee: 219 km (136 mi). Perigee: 159 km (98 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.27 min. Summary: Soft lunar landing attempt. The retrorocket system failed, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface at the Sea of Clouds. Western observers, among them England's Sir Bernard Lovell, correctly speculated that the craft's mission was a soft landing..

1965 June 8 - . 07:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M U103-31.
  • Luna 6 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 7. Mass: 1,440 kg (3,170 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. USAF Sat Cat: 1393 . COSPAR: 1965-044A. Attempted unmanned lunar soft lander. Tass reported that all onboard equipment was functioning normally. Two days into the flight, however, the spacecraft's engine failed to shut down following a midcourse correction. This failure caused Luna 6 to miss its target by 159,612.8 Km.

1965 September 4 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 s/n U103-27.
  • E-6 Launch Postponement - . Payload: E-6. Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Summary: The launch was delayed due to malfunction of the RKS system of the Stages 1/2's control system during pre-launch service..

1965 October 4 - . 07:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 U103-27.
  • Luna 7 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 11. Mass: 1,504 kg (3,315 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-10-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 1610 . COSPAR: 1965-077A. Summary: Lunar soft landing attempt. The Luna 7 spacecraft was intended to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. However, due to premature retrofire and cutoff of the retrorockets, the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in the Sea of Storms..

1965 December 3 - . 10:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 U103-28.
  • Luna 8 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 12. Mass: 1,550 kg (3,410 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-12-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 1810 . COSPAR: 1965-099A. Lunar soft landing attempt failed. Luna 8's objectives were to test a soft lunar landing system and scientific research. Weighing 1,552 kg (3,422 lbs), the spacecraft was following a trajectory close to the calculated one and the equipment was functioning normally. However, the retrofire was late, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in the Sea of Storms. Tass reported that "the systems were functioning normally at all stages of the landing except the final touchdown." The mission did complete the experimental development of the star-orientation system and ground control of radio equipment, flight trajectory, and other instrumentation.

1966 January 31 - . 11:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M U103-32.
  • Luna 9 - . Payload: E-6M s/n 13. Mass: 1,580 kg (3,480 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1966-02-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 1954 . COSPAR: 1966-006A. Soft landed on Moon; photographed surface for 3 days. Landed on Moon 3 February 1966 at 18:44:52 GMT, Latitude 7.08 N, Longitude 295.63 E - Oceanus Procellarum. The Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth. Seven radio sessions, totaling 8 hours and 5 minutes, were transmitted as were three series of TV pictures. When assembled, the photographs provided a panoramic view of the nearby lunar surface. The pictures included views of nearby rocks and of the horizon 1.4 Km away from the spacecraft.

1966 March 1 - . 11:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M N103-41. FAILURE: The escape stage Block L lost roll control during unpowered coast in parking orbit because the axis of the course regulator of the control system jammed in the zero position. The stage's engine was not fired.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Cosmos 111 - . Payload: Ye-6S s/n 204. Mass: 6,540 kg (14,410 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: Korolev. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6S. Decay Date: 1966-03-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 2093 . COSPAR: 1966-017A. Apogee: 180 km (110 mi). Perigee: 168 km (104 mi). Inclination: 51.8000 deg. Period: 88.00 min.

1966 March 31 - . 10:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M N103-42.
  • Luna 10 - . Payload: E-6S s/n 206 ISL. Mass: 1,597 kg (3,520 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: Korolev. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6S. USAF Sat Cat: 2126 . COSPAR: 1966-027A. Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). Development of system to permit the creation of an artificial lunar satellite for the investigation of circumlunar space; development of onboard systems for putting a station into a selenocentric (circumlunar) orbit. Orbit: Lunar Orbiter. The Luna 10 spacecraft was launched towards the Moon from an Earth orbiting platform. The spacecraft entered lunar orbit 3 50 x 1017 km, inclination 71.9 deg to plane of the lunar equator. on April 4, 1966. Scientific instruments included a gamma-ray spectrometer for energies between 0.3--3 MeV, a triaxial magnetometer, a meteorite detector, instruments for solar-plasma studies, and devices for measuring infrared emissions from the Moon and radiation conditions of the lunar environment. Gravitational studies were also conducted. The spacecraft played back to Earth the `Internationale' during the Twenty-third Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Luna 10 was battery powered and operated for 460 lunar orbits and 219 active data transmissions before radio signals were discontinued on May 30, 1966.

1966 August 24 - . 08:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. Launch Pad: LC31?. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M N103-43.
  • Luna 11 - . Payload: E-6LF s/n 101. Mass: 1,638 kg (3,611 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6LF. USAF Sat Cat: 2406 . COSPAR: 1966-078A. Automatic station Luna 11. Further development of artificial lunar satellite systems and conduct of scientific experiments in circumlunar space. Lunar orbit 160 km x 1200 km x 27 degrees. Luna 11 was launched towards the Moon from an earth-orbiting platform and entered lunar orbit on August 28, 1966. The objectives of the mission included the study of: (1) lunar gamma- and X-ray emissions in order to determine the Moon's chemical composition; (2) lunar gravitational anomalies; (3) the concentration of meteorite streams near the Moon; and, (4) the intensity of hard corpuscular radiation near the Moon. A total of 137 radio transmissions and 277 orbits of the Moon were completed before the batteries failed on October 1, 1966.

1966 October 22 - . 08:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M N103-44.
  • Luna 12 - . Payload: E-6LF s/n 102. Mass: 1,620 kg (3,570 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6LF. USAF Sat Cat: 2508 . COSPAR: 1966-094A. Lunar Orbiter, further development of artificial lunar satellite systems and conduct of scientific experiments in circumlunar space. Luna 12 was launched towards the Moon from an earth-orbiting platform and achieved a lunar orbit of of 100 km x 1740 km on October 25, 1966. The spacecraft was equipped with a television system that obtained and transmitted photographs of the lunar surface. The photographs contained 1100 scan lines with a maximum resolution of 14.9--19.8 m. Pictures of the lunar surface were returned on October 27, 1966. The number of photographs is not known. Radio transmissions from Luna 12 ceased on January 19, 1967, after 602 lunar orbits and 302 radio transmissions.

1966 December 21 - . 10:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M N103-45.
  • Luna 13 - . Payload: E-6M s/n 205. Mass: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: Korolev. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6M. Decay Date: 1966-12-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 2626 . COSPAR: 1966-116A. Soft landed on Moon 24 December 1966 at 18:01:00 GMT, Latitude 18.87 N, 297.95 E - Oceanus Procellarum. The petal encasement of the spacecraft was opened, antennas were erected, and radio transmissions to Earth began four minutes after the landing. On December 25 and 26, 1966, the spacecraft television system transmitted panoramas of the nearby lunar landscape at different sun angles. Each panorama required approximately 100 minutes to transmit. The spacecraft was equipped with a mechanical soil-measuring penetrometer, a dynamograph, and a radiation densitometer for obtaining data on the mechanical and physical properties and the cosmic-ray reflectivity of the lunar surface. It is believed that transmissions from the spacecraft ceased before the end of December 1966.

1968 February 3 - .
  • Ye-8-5 robot lunar soil return plans - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Babakin. Program: Lunar L1; Luna; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8. VVS Party Conference. It is clear to Kamanin that there is no support from the Air Force for manned spaceflight. Kamanin only heard yesterday that Babakin is working on an automatic soil sample return spacecraft. He will need a minimum of two to three years to complete it. Kamanin complained that it would interfere with plans for the L1 program. An uninterrupted series of flights will be needed to complete the L1 spacecraft qualification, and the Ye-8, using the same booster, could be an interference in achieving that goal.

1968 December 30 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • Meeting of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission to discuss how to beat the Americans to the lunar landing - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Chelomei; Okhapkin; Keldysh; Pilyugin; Babakin. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Luna Ye-8-5; LK-1. Ustinov called the meeting to order. Mishin was 'sick' again -- Okhapkin represented TsKBEM and gave a summary of the programme to that date:

    • The project had only been authorised on 3 August 1964. It consisted of two parts, circumlunar flights using Chelomei's UR-500K booster and LK-1 spacecraft, and a lunar landing using Korolev's N1 booster and L3 spacecraft.
    • On 25 October 1965 the programme was redirected. Military support was ordered and the decision was made to cancel Chelomei's LK-1 spacecraft and instead use the L1 version of Korolev's Soyuz for the circumlunar flights. This was ordered by the resolution 'On organisation of construction units for support of rocket-space systems for the lunar flyby'. That resolution ordered a manned L1 flight by the end of 1967 or early 1968.
    • The program actually took three years to implement rather than the two planned. Nine launches of he L1 had been made since March 1967, but it had not been possible to man-rate the UR-500K/L1 booster/spacecraft combination due to failures in both the launch vehicle and spacecraft. Flight trials of the N1 booster had not even begun yet.

    Keldysh proposed that further work on the L1 be abandoned, and Proton boosters instead be used to launch the Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robot spacecraft being developed by Babakin. Babakin had been accelerating this programme since the beginning of 1968 with the support of Keldysh, even though it would only return around 100 g of lunar soil, versus the tens of kilograms the Apollo manned flights would return. However it now offered an interesting possibility - he proposed obtaining lunar soil and returning it to earth before an American manned landing. The government's organs of mass communication would say that the Soviet Union's lunar program only consisted of robot probes, emphasising that his was much safer and that Russia would never risk it's citizen's lives for mere political sensation. Additional Details: here....


1969 January 7 - .
  • Preparations at Baikonur - . Nation: USSR. Program: Soyuz; Luna. Flight: Soyuz 4; Soyuz 5; Soyuz 4/5. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. The head of the launch commission for Venera-5 and 6 says that will work on the Ye-8 and Ye-8-5 robot moon landers was making progress, it would be fantasy to believe that a moon landing and return to earth could be successfully accomplished in 1969. Venera was 'no answer' to Apollo at all. Meanwhile, he was worried about Soyuz landing in the Aral Sea in the event of problems during re-entry. Kustanin remembers times in the past when supposedly 'waterproof' spacecraft had landed in water. One Soyuz had splashed down in the Aral Sea, and one Zenit spysat in the Volga River. Both sank easily. But the chances of either Soyuz 4 or 5 landing in the Aral Sea were assessed as only 0.003. In any cases 5 helicopters and 3 Be-12 seaplanes were on standby to recover the crew in such an eventuality.

1969 January 25 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Apollo vs Ye-8-5 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Luna; Apollo. Flight: Apollo 9. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. America is preparing Apollo 9 for flight, and Kamanin muses that the Soviet reply will be the N1 and Ye-8-5, neither of which is proven or reliable. The Soviet Union would have a better chance of sending a manned L1 on a flight around the moon during the first quarter of 1969. Meanwhile Mishin's bureau has a new L3M lunar lander on the drawing boards. This will land 4 to 5 men on the moon, but require two N1 or seven UR-500K launches to assemble in orbit.

1969 January 30 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1/Ye-8-5 launch preparations - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tyulin; Mishin. Program: Lunar L3; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Summary: Mishin agrees with Tyulin that he will fly to Tyuratam on 3 February to supervise launch of the Ye-8 on 18 February and the first N1 on 21 February. .

1969 February 3 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1/Ye-8 preparations - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; LK. Kamanin arrives at Tyuratam at 15:30 aboard an An-24. The State Commission for the first Ye-8 robot lunar rover mission is chaired by Tyulin at Area 31. The spacecraft will make a soft landing on the moon, deploy a mobile lunar rover that can traverse slopes up to 30 degrees. The rover will find a position that is clear of obstacles for the first Soviet manned lunar landing. It will then park there, and provide a landing beacon for the LK manned lander. The spacecraft will have a mass of 1700 kg in lunar orbit. Launch is set for 19-20 February.

1969 February 4 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • UR-500K failure state commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Konopatov; Babakin. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8. At Area 81 a State Commission is held on failures of the UR-500K booster. A D Konopatov describes the analysis of the stage 2 and 3 failures on the 20 January launch attempt. The number 4 engine of stage 2 shut down 25 seconds into its burn due to high temperatures detected in the turbopump. The same thing occurred on the third stage. The couldn't pin down the source of the problem. Engines of this type had worked correctly 700 times on earlier flights. Despite the cause of the failure not being identified, approval is given at 14:30 for the launch of the Ye-8 to proceed. Babakin confirms the spacecraft is ready.

1969 February 11 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Military space objectives - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8. The Ye-8 and N1 are on schedule for their respective launches. Kamanin discusses the cosmonaut training curriculum with Kerimov. No one has ever defined what it is cosmonauts are actually supposed to do in space. No one really knows what their purpose is --- not Keldysh, not Mishin, not Smirnov, not Ustinov. Kerimov agrees to put together a state commission to define the role of man in space and draw up plans for future space missions.

1969 February 19 - . 06:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 239-01. FAILURE: First-stage engine failure caused the rocket to crash 15 km from the pad.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Ye-8 s/n 201 + Lunokhod s/n 201 - first stage malfunction - . Payload: Ye-8 s/n 201 / 8EL No. 201. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8. Decay Date: 1969-02-19 . COSPAR: F690219A. Attempted launch of a Ye-8 with a Lunokhod lunar rover. Evidently coordinate in some way with the N1 launch two days later. A first-stage booster engine failure causes the rocket to crash 15 km from the pad after a lift-off at 09:48 local time. Kamanin meanwhile has the Hong Kong flu.

1969 May 16 - .
  • Myth 'we were never in the moon race' disseminated by the Soviet Union - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Keldysh; Babakin. Program: Luna; Apollo; Lunar L3; Lunar L1. Flight: Apollo 11. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Keldysh first revealed the new 'party line' at a press conference on the semi-successful Venera 5 landing on Venus. When asked about Soviet lunar plans, he revealed that Russia would only use robot probes, that it wouldn't risk men's lives in such an endeavour. At the same time Babakin was hard at work finishing the first Ye-8-5 robot lunar soil return spacecraft, to be launched before Apollo 11.

1969 June 10 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Revised Soviet lunar plans - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; Luna Ye-8; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK. The VPK Military-Industrial Commission issues a decree on the schedule for the rest of 1969. There are to be five launches of Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robots, on 14 June, 13 and 28 July, 25 August, and 25 September. There are to be two launches of Ye-8 Lunokhod robot rovers on 22 October and 21 November. Further manned L1 flights are cancelled. There are no plans made for the L3 since the N1 is not ready.

1969 June 13 - .
  • Leonov in trouble - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Leonov; Shatalov; Yeliseyev. Program: Lunar L3; Luna. Flight: Apollo 9; Soyuz 4/5. Summary: Leonov interviewed by Japanese reporters. He tells them that both manned and unmanned lunar spacecraft are in preparation and that lunar rocks will be returned by Soviet spacecraft by March 1970.. Additional Details: here....

1969 June 14 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 238-01. FAILURE: Block D upper stage did not fire and payload did not attain earth orbit,. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Ye-8-5 s/n 402 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 402. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1; Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-06-04 . COSPAR: F690614A. Another attempt to launch a Ye-8-5 to return lunar soil to the earth, 'scooping', the Americans' impending Apollo 11 mission. Yet another UR-500K launch failure. This time the UR-500K booster functioned perfectly, but the Block D upper stage did not fire, and the payload did not even attain earth orbit. Every UR-500K launch is costing the Soviet state 100 million roubles. This failure pretty much ended the chances for the Russians to trump the American moon landing. Tass yesterday began running stories to prepare the masses for the upcoming Apollo 11 triumph. The party line is that the Soviet Union is not about to risks the lives of its cosmonauts on flights to the moon, when automated probes can safely retrieve soil from the moon for study on earth. Additional Details: here....

1969 July 13 - . 02:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 242-01.
  • Luna 15 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 401. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-07-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 4036 . COSPAR: 1969-058A. Apogee: 870 km (540 mi). Perigee: 240 km (140 mi). Inclination: 126.0000 deg. Period: 160.00 min. Unmanned soil return mission launched coincident with Apollo 11 mission in last ditch attempt to return lunar soil to earth before United States. After completing 86 communications sessions and 52 orbits of the Moon at various inclinations and altitudes, crashed on the moon on 20 July in an attempted landing. Altitude data used in programming inaccurate or guidance system unable to cope with effect of lunar mascons.
    Officially: Testing of on-board systems of the automatic station and further scientific investigation of the moon and circumlunar space. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1969 September 5 - .
  • State Commission meets on the Luna 15 failure investigation - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. It is felt the problems are understood and go-ahead is given for the next lunar soil return robot launch attempt on 23 September. Kamanin considers this very unlikely to be successful -- all of the plans for automated spacecraft and their booster rockets have not been realised to date.

1969 September 19 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • L1 state commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Tyulin; Brezhnev. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; Soyuz 7K-L1. VPK Deputy Chairman Tyulin headed a state commission on the L1 programme. Mishin pushed for a manned L1 circumlunar flight in 1970. This meeting was only five days before a Ye-8-5 robot spacecraft was to have returned lunar soil from the earth. The Block D stage failed in earth orbit, and the flight was given the cover name Cosmos 300. This indicated the L1 system still did not have the necessary reliability for manned flight. Furthermore, politically, Brezhnev and the Politburo did not want to see a Khrushchev-originated project like the L1 succeed.

1969 September 23 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Two Volga buses transport the cosmonauts and VVS specialists to Area 31. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Beregovoi; Chelomei. Program: Luna. Flight: Soyuz 6; Soyuz 7; Soyuz 8. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. To ensure the buses do not exceed 60 km/hour checkpoints are manned along the roads. The readiness review is conducted form 10:00 to 13:00. The crews, and spacecraft are ready. Mishin is away 'sick' again. General Pushkin and Beregovoi are at Area 81 to view the Ye-8-5 launch. Kamanin likes Chelomei's UR-500K rocket. He blames its series of failures on its engines and Block D upper stage, not on the fundamental booster design. If it had been more successful, the Russians would have beaten the Americans in a lunar flyby. The launch proceeds as planned at 15:00, but the Block D fails to restart in parking orbit, and is given the cover name 'Cosmos 300'.

1969 September 23 - . 14:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 244-01. FAILURE: Block D lost LOX due to valve defect.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Cosmos 300 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 403. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-09-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 4104 . COSPAR: 1969-080A. Apogee: 189 km (117 mi). Perigee: 184 km (114 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 88.20 min. Summary: Robotic lunar soil return mission. Failed to leave low earth orbit due to Block D stage failure..

1969 September 24 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Ye-8-5 failure analysis - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tyulin; Savin; Smirnov. Program: Luna. Flight: Soyuz 6; Soyuz 7; Soyuz 8. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. The cause of the Ye-8-5 failure is found to be a valve that was stuck open after the first stage burn, resulting in the oxidiser boiling away in the vacuum of space. Tyulin inquires about the possibility of commanding the Ye-8-5 to conduct a series of manoeuvres and testing re-entry of the soil return capsule in the earth's atmosphere. An interesting concept, but the engineers have not planned for such an eventuality.

    NII-2 MO, represented by Lt General Korolev and Chief Designer Savin present plans for their Svinets experiment. It will observe ICBM rocket plumes from space in order to aid design of anti-ballistic missile systems. They had asked Smirnov to conduct a solid propellant rocket launch in order to test the device properly, but he could only schedule a liquid propellant rocket launch. Kamanin had wanted this experiment to be conducted aboard Voskhod 3, but Smirnov has cancelled that mission as well - delaying Soviet ABM development, in Kamanin's view.


1969 October 22 - . 14:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 241-01. FAILURE: Block D control system failure.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Cosmos 305 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 404. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-10-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 4150 . COSPAR: 1969-092A. Apogee: 208 km (129 mi). Perigee: 182 km (113 mi). Inclination: 51.4000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. Summary: Robotic lunar soil return mission. Failed to leave low earth orbit due to Block D stage failure..

1969 November 28 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 245-01. FAILURE: First stage malfunction.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Soyuz 7K-L1E s/n 1 - first stage malfunction - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1E s/n 1. Mass: 10,380 kg (22,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1E. Decay Date: 1969-11-16 . COSPAR: F691128A. Attempted test flight of Block D upper stage in N1 lunar crasher configuration. Payload was a modified Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar spacecraft, which provided guidance to the Block D and was equipped with television cameras that viewed the behavior of the Block D stage propellants under zero-G conditions. Mission flown successfully over a year later as Cosmos 382.

1970 February 6 - . 04:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. Launch Pad: LC81/23?. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 247-01. FAILURE: Failure of vehicle on launch.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Ye-8-5 s/n 405 - failure of vehicle on launch - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 405. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1970-02-06 . COSPAR: F700206A. Summary: Robotic lunar soil return mission..

1970 September 12 - . 13:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 248-01.
  • Luna 16 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 406. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1970-09-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 4527 . COSPAR: 1970-072A. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi). Perigee: 110 km (60 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 119.00 min. Lunar Sample Return. Landed on Moon 20 September 1970 at 05:18:00 GMT, Latitude 0.68 S, Longitude 56.30 E - Mare Fecunditatis. Luna 16 was launched toward the Moon from a preliminary earth orbit and entered a lunar orbit on September 17, 1970. On September 20, the spacecraft soft landed on the lunar surface as planned. The spacecraft was equipped with an extendable arm with a drilling rig for the collection of a lunar soil sample. After 26 hours and 25 minutes on the lunar surface, the ascent stage, with a hermetically sealed soil sample container, left the lunar surface carrying 100 grams of collected material. It landed in the Soviet Union on September 24, 1970. The lower stage of Luna 16 remained on the lunar surface and continued transmission of lunar temperature and radiation data. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1970 September 18 - .
  • Luna 16 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Summary: Luna 16 is underway. This is the latest attempt to obtain lunar soil Five previous launches failed, four due to UR-500K booster failures. Luna 15 almost made it but crashed on the moon..

1970 September 20 - .
  • Luna 16 lands on moon. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Luna 16 first placed itself into a 106 x 15 km lunar orbit, inclination 71 degrees. After the trajectory was measured and calculations made on earth, it was instructed to make its Phase 1 descent using a timed burn. Phase 2 began at 600 m altitude. From this point the new-design braking rocket was controlled automatically according to height and velocity as measured by radar. At 220 m altitude the main engine shut down, and small braking rockets fired. These were shut down just 2 m above the surface. At 08:18 Luna 16 successfully made a soft landing on the moon. Getting there required 68 communications sessions over nine days of flight. At 10:00 the drill obtains the soil sample and inserts it into the return capsule.

1970 September 21 - .
  • Luna 16 ascent stage heads for earth. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. At 10:43 the Luna 16 ascent stage fires, thrusting the return capsule with the lunar soil toward the earth. It will land somewhere on Soviet territory within a 1500 km radius of Dzhezkazgan. The 25 cm diameter capsule is equipped with a 10 square meter parachute. It was thought that it would take 10 to 15 launches to perfect this system, but instead it has succeeded on the sixth attempt.

1970 September 24 - .
  • Luna 16 returns lunar soil to earth. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Summary: Luna 16 lands only 30 km from its aim point, 80 km southeast of Dzhezkazgan. There was ideal weather in the recovery area, the radio beacon worked well, and a helicopter picked up the capsule only a few minutes after landing..

1970 November 10 - . 14:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 251-01.
  • Luna 17 - . Payload: Ye-8 s/n 203. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8. Decay Date: 1970-11-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 4691 . COSPAR: 1970-095A. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi). Perigee: 85 km (52 mi). Inclination: 141.0000 deg. Period: 116.00 min. Luna 17 was launched from an earth parking orbit towards the Moon and entered lunar orbit on November 15, 1970. Luna 17 landed on Moon 17 November 1970 at 03:47:00 GMT, Latitude 38.28 N, Longitude 325.00 E - Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). The payload, the Lunokhod 1 unmanned rover, rolled down a ramp from the landing stage and began exploring the surface. Lunokhod was intended to operate through three lunar days but actually operated for eleven lunar days (earth months). The operations of Lunokhod officially ceased on October 4, 1971, the anniversary of Sputnik 1. By then it had traveled 10,540 m and had transmitted more than 20,000 TV pictures and more than 200 TV panoramas. It had also conducted more than 500 lunar soil tests. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1970 November 18 - .
  • Luna 17 lands on moon. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8; Lunokhod. Summary: Luna 17 / Lunokhod have landed on the Sea of Storms on the moon. Chelomei is assisting Kamanin in securing funds for the water basin for zero-G training, further simulators, etc..

1970 November 23 - .
  • First lunar rover. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8; Lunokhod. Summary: Lunokhod 1 is ready to go on its first lunar drive..

1971 May 15 - .
  • Party line on Soviet space program. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Popovich; Sevastyanov; Shatalov. Program: Salyut; Lunar L3; Luna. Flight: Soyuz 10; Soyuz 11. Shatalov is actively pushing his candidacy for the position of Kamanin's deputy. Popovich and Sevastyanov prepare for a trip to the Paris Air how on 2 June. They need 'correct' replies to inevitable questions about the moon race, the Salyut 1 station, and Soyuz 10's failure to dock. The line they are to follow is that the Soviet Union is fulfilling its safe and systematic exploration of space. The robots Luna-16 and Lunokhod 1 safely surveyed the moon. After the Soyuz 9 long-duration flight, Salyut 1 was launched and Soyuz 10 tested the rendezvous equipment. The line is that the USSR is not behind the USA, but is exploring space in a safe and responsible way.

1971 September 2 - . 13:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 256-01.
  • Luna 18 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 407. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1971-09-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 5448 . COSPAR: 1971-073A. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Perigee: 100 km (60 mi). Inclination: 35.0000 deg. Period: 119.00 min. Attempted lunar soil return mission; crashed while attempting to soft land at Latitude 3.57 N, Longitude 50.50 E - Mare Fecunditatis. Luna 18 used a new method of navigation in lunar orbit and for landing. The spacecraft's designer, Babakhin, had died at age 56 only the month before. Luna 18 successfully reached earth parking orbit before being put on a translunar trajectory. On September 7, 1971, it entered lunar orbit. The spacecraft completed 85 communications sessions and 54 lunar orbits before it was sent towards the lunar surface by use of braking rockets. It impacted the Moon on September 11, 1971, in a rugged mountainous terrain. Signals ceased at the moment of impact. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1971 September 28 - . 10:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 257-01.
  • Luna 19 - . Payload: Ye-8-LS s/n 202. Mass: 5,810 kg (12,800 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-LS. USAF Sat Cat: 5488 . COSPAR: 1971-082A. Apogee: 140 km (80 mi). Perigee: 140 km (80 mi). Inclination: 40.6000 deg. Period: 121.75 min. Heavy lunar Orbiter; conducted lunar surface mapping. Luna 19 entered an intermediate earth parking orbit and was then put on a translunar trajectory by the Proton Block D stage. It entered lunar orbit on October 3, 1971. Luna 19 extended the systematic study of lunar gravitational fields and location of mascons (mass concentrations). It also studied the lunar radiation environment, the gamma-active lunar surface, and the solar wind. Photographic coverage via a television system was also obtained. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1972 February 14 - . 03:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 258-01.
  • Luna 20 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 408. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1972-02-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 5835 . COSPAR: 1972-007A. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Perigee: 100 km (60 mi). Inclination: 65.0000 deg. Period: 118.00 min. Soft landed on Moon; returned soil samples to Earth. Landed on Moon 21 February 1972 at 19:19:00 GMT, Latitude 3.57 N, Longitude 56.50 E - Mare Fecunditatis. Luna 20 was placed in an intermediate earth parking orbit and from this orbit was sent towards the Moon. It entered lunar orbit on February 18, 1972. On 21 February 1972, Luna 20 soft landed on the Moon in a mountainous area known as the Apollonius highlands, 120 km from where Luna 18 had crashed. While on the lunar surface, the panoramic television system was operated. Lunar samples were obtained by means of an extendable drilling apparatus. The ascent stage of Luna 20 was launched from the lunar surface on 22 February 1972 carrying 30 grams of collected lunar samples in a sealed capsule. It landed in the Soviet Union on 25 February 1972. The lunar samples were recovered the following day.

1973 January 8 - . 06:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 259-01.
  • Luna 21 - . Payload: Ye-8 s/n 204. Mass: 5,567 kg (12,273 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8. Decay Date: 1973-01-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 6333 . COSPAR: 1973-001A. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi). Perigee: 90 km (55 mi). Inclination: 60.0000 deg. Period: 118.00 min. The Proton / Block D launcher put the spacecraft into Earth parking orbit followed by translunar injection. On 12 January 1973, Luna 21 braked into a 90 x 100 km orbit about the Moon. On 13 and 14 January, the perilune was lowered to 16 km altitude. On 15 January after 40 orbits, the braking rocket was fired at 16 km altitude, and the craft went into free fall. At an altitude of 750 meters the main thrusters began firing, slowing the fall until a height of 22 meters was reached. At this point the main thrusters shut down and the secondary thrusters ignited, slowing the fall until the lander was 1.5 meters above the surface, where the engine was cut off. Landing occurred at 23:35 GMT in LeMonnier crater at 25.85 degrees N, 30.45 degrees E. The lander carried a bas relief of Lenin and the Soviet coat-of-arms. After landing, Lunokhod 2 took TV images of the surrounding area, then rolled down a ramp to the surface at 01:14 GMT on 16 January and took pictures of the Luna 21 lander and landing site. It stopped and charged batteries until 18 January, took more images of the lander and landing site, and then set out over the Moon. The rover would run during the lunar day, stopping occasionally to recharge its batteries via the solar panels. At night the rover would hibernate until the next sunrise, heated by the radioactive source. Lunokhod 2 operated for about 4 months, covered 37 km of terrain including hilly upland areas and rilles, and sent back 86 panoramic images and over 80,000 TV pictures. Many mechanical tests of the surface, laser ranging measurements, and other experiments were completed during this time. On June 4 it was announced that the program was completed, leading to speculation that the vehicle probably failed in mid-May or could not be revived after the lunar night of May-June. The Lunokhod was not left in a position such that the laser retroreflector could be used, indicating that the failure may have happened suddenly.

1974 May 29 - . 08:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 282-02.
  • Luna 22 - . Payload: Ye-8-LS s/n 206. Mass: 5,835 kg (12,863 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-LS. Decay Date: 1975-12-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 7315 . COSPAR: 1974-037A. Apogee: 220 km (130 mi). Perigee: 220 km (130 mi). Inclination: 19.6000 deg. Period: 130.00 min. Heavy lunar orbiter. Scientific investigation of the moon and circumlunar space from the orbit of an artificial satellite of the Moon, which was begun by the Luna 19 automatic station. The spacecraft carried imaging cameras and also had the objectives of studying the Moon's magnetic field, surface gamma ray emissions and composition of lunar surface rocks, and the gravitational field, as well as micrometeoroids and cosmic rays. Luna 22 braked into a circular lunar orbit on 2 June 1974. The spacecraft made many orbit adjustments over its 18 month lifetime in order to optimise the operation of various experiments, lowering the perilune to as low as 25 km. Manoeuvring fuel was exhausted on 2 September and the mission was ended in early November. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1974 October 28 - . 14:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 285-01.
  • Luna 23 - . Payload: Ye-8-5M s/n 410. Mass: 5,300 kg (11,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1974-11-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 7491 . COSPAR: 1974-084A. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi). Perigee: 17 km (10 mi). Failed lunar soil return mission. After successfully entering earth orbit, flying to the moon, entering lunar orbit, and descending toward the surface, the spacecraft was damaged during landing in Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises). The sample collecting apparatus could not operate and no samples were returned. The lander continued transmissions for three days after landing. In 1976, Luna 24 landed several hundred meters away and successfully returned samples. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1975 October 16 - . 04:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 287-02. FAILURE: Block D stage failed.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Ye-8-5M s/n 412 - Block D stage failed. - . Payload: Ye-8-5M s/n 412. Mass: 5,300 kg (11,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1975-10-16 . COSPAR: F751016A. Summary: Attempted robotic lunar soil return mission. Block D stage failed..

1976 August 9 - . 15:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 288-02.
  • Luna 24 - . Payload: Ye-8-5M s/n 413. Mass: 5,306 kg (11,697 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1976-08-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 9272 . COSPAR: 1976-081A. Apogee: 115 km (71 mi). Perigee: 115 km (71 mi). Inclination: 120.0000 deg. Period: 119.00 min. Lunar Sample Return. Landed on Moon 18 Aug 1976 at 02:00:00 GMT, Latitude 12.25 N, Longitude 62.20 E - Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis). The last of the Luna series of spacecraft, Luna 24 was the third Soviet mission to retrieve lunar ground samples (the first two were returned by Luna 16 and 20). The mission successfully returned 170 grams of lunar samples to the Earth on 22 August 1976.

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