|Ye-8 lunar probe - Ye-8 lunar sample return spacecraft - detail of drill and reentry vehicle|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 25,335 bytes. 313 x 440 pixels.
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. Major Events: .
This was the start of an acrimonious debated between Glushko and Korolev design bureaux over the fault and fix for the problem.
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.
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.
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).
Reached an altitude of 200,000 km before plunging back to earth.
|Luna 9 - Korolev / Lavochkin E-6M spacecraft as flown on Luna 9 first soft landing on the moon.|
Credit: Andy Salmon. 21,806 bytes. 298 x 272 pixels.
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.
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.
The upper stages burnt on re-entry into the atmosphere.
The upper stages broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere..
The stage with the payload remained in Earth orbit as Kosmos-60.
The upper stages fell apart on re-entry into the atmosphere..
|Luna 13 - Korolev / Lavochkin E-6M spacecraft as flown on Luna 13 with soil probe.|
Credit: Andy Salmon. 23,239 bytes. 434 x 218 pixels.
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.
The launch was delayed due to malfunction of the RKS system of the Stages 1/2's control system during pre-launch service.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
|Lunokhod - The Lunokhod unmanned lunar surface rover.|
Credit: Lavochkin. 15,681 bytes. 428 x 288 pixels.
Robotic lunar soil return mission. Failed to leave low earth orbit due to Block D stage failure.
Robotic lunar soil return mission. Failed to leave low earth orbit due to Block D stage failure.
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.
Robotic lunar soil return mission. Launch vehicle failure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Attempted robotic lunar soil return mission. Block D stage failed.
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.