Launch Vehicle: Proton booster plus upper stage and escape stages, 8K82K + Blok D (Proton no. 244-01)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR, NIIP-5 / launch site 81P
Spacecraft Mass: c. 5,700 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) stereo imaging system; 2) remote arm for sample collection; and 3) radiation detector
Spacecraft Dimensions: Four spherical fuel tanks and nozzles, thrusters, and landing legs set in a 4-meter-wide base.
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.
This was the third attempt to send a sample-return spacecraft to the Moon (after failures in June and July 1969). On this attempt, the spacecraft successfully reached Earth orbit but failed to inject itself on a translunar trajectory.
Later investigation indicated that the Blok D upper stage had failed to fire a second time for translunar injection because of a problem with a fuel-injection valve that had become stuck during the first firing of the Blok D (for Earth orbital insertion). As a result, all the liquid oxygen in the Blok D was depleted. The Soviet press named the vehicle Kosmos 300 without alluding to its lunar goal. The payload's orbit decayed about four days after launch.