This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Luna E-3

Spacecraft: Luna E-3.

Looped around the moon and photographed the Moon's far side. The craft was a cylindrically shaped cannister which was equipped with radio communication and telemetering systems, an imaging system with an automatic film processing unit, a set of scientific instruments, three solar cells for electric power supply, and a temperature control system. It had gas jets for stabilization and photoelectric cells to maintain orientation with respect to the Sun and Moon. This spacecraft was controlled by radio command from Earth. 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. 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).

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Last update 28 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .