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astronautix.com Luna E-6

Luna 9
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.



Manufacturer's Designation: E-6. Class: Planetary. Type: Lunar. Nation: USSR. Manufacturer: OKB-1.

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. Work began on the E-6 on 26 March 1960. The spacecraft consisted of:

During the flight to the moon the spacecraft was oriented by the KTDU's SAV astronavigation system. This used five sensors (two earth, two moon, one sun) to determine the orientation of the spacecraft in relation to these three celestial objects. At 8,300 km from the lunar surface the SAV was used to determine the local vertical in relation to the moon, gyroscopes were spun up and memorised the position. 75 km above the surface the KTDU ignited. At 25 km from the surface the landing bag inflated to one atmosphere pressure, and the main engine shut off. The landing bag was ejected by a sensor just before impact with the moon, and hit the surface at 15 m/s.

The spacecraft had a launch mass of 1,470 kg and the ALS original design mass was 82 kg. In the modernised E-6M version the ALS mass was increased to 150 kg. There were 12 launches of the E-6 and E-6M, of which five experienced launch vehicle failures, four guidance system failures, and three resulted in successful landings.

At the end of 1965 all materials on the E-6 were passed to the Lavochkin Bureau, who took over from Korolev responsibility for all future lunar and planetary unmanned probes.


Specification

Total Mass: 1,422 kg.


Luna E-6 Chronology


Luna 9 LanderLuna 9 Lander

Credit: © Mark Wade. 25,751 bytes. 334 x 281 pixels.



10 December 1959 Further development of Soviet Lunar and Planetary probes approved.

Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 1386-618 'On the Creation of AMS for Landing on the Moon. and Flights to Venus and Mars-- approving automated lunar and interplanetary spacecraft' was issued.


23 March 1962 Luna E-6 soft lander approved.

Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On Luna spacecraft for soft-landing on the Moon' was issued.


04 January 1963 Sputnik 25 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. 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. Perigee: 165 km. Apogee: 189 km. Inclination: 64.6 deg.
03 February 1963 ALS Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Failure.

Luna 9 Bus / E-6Luna 9 Bus / E-6

Credit: NASA. 15,124 bytes. 227 x 200 pixels.


02 April 1963 Luna 4 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. Mass: 1,422 kg.

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.


21 March 1964 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. FAILURE: At T+290 sec the vernier chambers of Stage 3's 8D715P engine failed to reach their full thrust level - a LOX valve did not open - a rod in the oxidiser valve's pyrotechnic unit broke. At T+486.8s the main chambers of the 8D715P engine cut off prematurely.


Luna 13Luna 13 - Korolev / Lavochkin E-6M spacecraft as flown on Luna 13 with soil probe.

Credit: Andy Salmon. 23,239 bytes. 434 x 218 pixels.


The upper stages burnt on re-entry into the atmosphere.
20 April 1964 ALS Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. FAILURE: Failure.
02 March 1965 Babakin takes over Lavochkin OKB Program: Lunar L3.

Former Lavochkin bureau, part of Chelomei, regained status of a separate design bureau with former Korolev deputy GN Babakin as its head. By the end of 1965 all materials on the E-6, Ye-8, and planetary probes were passed by Korolev to the Lavochkin Bureau, who took over responsibility for all future lunar and planetary unmanned probes.


12 March 1965 Cosmos 60 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. 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. Mass: 6,530 kg. Perigee: 195 km. Apogee: 248 km. Inclination: 64.7 deg.


E-6 / Luna 9E-6 / Luna 9

Credit: RKK Energia. 13,212 bytes. 263 x 240 pixels.


The stage with the payload remained in Earth orbit as Kosmos-60.
10 April 1965 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Stage 3's engine 8D715K failed due to depressurisation of the nitrogen pipeline of the LOX tank pressurisation system of Block I.

The upper stages fell apart on re-entry into the atmosphere..


09 May 1965 Luna 5 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. Mass: 1,474 kg.

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.


08 June 1965 Luna 6 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. Mass: 1,440 kg.


Testing of E-6Testing of E-6 - Testing of E-6 Landing Bag

Credit: RKK Energia. 24,567 bytes. 510 x 236 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.
04 September 1965 E-6 Launch Postponement Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.

The launch was delayed due to malfunction of the RKS system of the Stages 1/2's control system during pre-launch service.


04 October 1965 Luna 7 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. Mass: 1,504 kg.

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.


03 December 1965 Luna 8 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. Mass: 1,550 kg.

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.


31 January 1966 Luna 9 Program: Luna. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. Mass: 1,580 kg.

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.



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Last update 12 March 2001.
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