National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Missions
Luna 6
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Search for Missions Containing:      Search
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Luna 6
Luna 6 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Lander
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with 2nd Generation Upper Stage + Escape Stage, 8K78M (no. U103-31)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR, NIIP-5 / launch site 1
Spacecraft Mass: 1,442 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system and 2) radiation detector
References:
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi

National Space Science Data Center, http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.


On this Soviet attempt at a lunar soft-landing, the mission proceeded as planned until the major midcourse correction late on 9 June. Although the main retrorocket engine (the S5.5A) ignited on time, it failed to cut off and continued to fire until propellant supply was exhausted.

An investigation later indicated that the problem had been due to human error; a command had been mistakenly sent to the timer that ordered the main engine to shut down. Although the spacecraft was sent on a completely wrong trajectory, ground controllers put the spacecraft through a series of steps to practice an actual landing, all of which were satisfactorily accomplished.

Luna 6 passed by the Moon late on 11 June at a range of 161,000 kilometers and eventually entered heliocentric orbit. Contact was maintained to a distance of 600,000 kilometers from Earth.


Key Dates
8 Jun 1965:  Launch
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Luna 6 Facts This was the Soviet Union's third attempt to make a survivable landing on the Moon.

Although it missed the Moon, mission controllers used the flight to practive for an actual landing.

The Soviet Union launched 10 of the 15 interplanety spacecraft sent into deep space in 1965.
Links
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 29 Nov 2010