Mission Type: Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: SS-6 (Sapwood) with second-generation upper stage + escape stage; 8K78M (no. N103-43)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR, NIIP-5
Spacecraft Mass: 1,640 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system; 2) gamma-ray detector; 3) magnetometer; 4) radiation detectors; 5) infrared radiometer; 6) meteoroid detectors; and 7) R-1 gear transmission experiment
Spacecraft Power: Batteries
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 subset of the "second-generation" Luna spacecraft, the Ye-6LF, was designed to take the U.S.S.R.'s first photographs of the surface of the Moon from lunar orbit. A secondary objective was to obtain data on mass concentrations ("mascons") on the Moon first detected by Luna 10.
Using the basic Ye-6 bus, a suite of scientific instruments (plus an imaging system similar to the one used on Zond 3) replaced the small lander capsule used on the soft-landing flights. The resolution of the photos was reportedly 15 to 20 meters. A technological experiment included testing the efficiency of gear transmission in vacuum as a test for a future lunar rover.
Luna 11, launched only two weeks after the U.S. Lunar Orbiter, successfully entered lunar orbit at 21:49 UT on 27 August. Parameters were 160 x 1,193 kilometers. During the mission, the TV camera failed to return usable images because the spacecraft lost proper orientation to face the lunar surface when a foreign object was lodged in the nozzle of one of the attitude-control thrusters. The other instruments functioned without fault before the mission formally ended on 1 October 1966 after the power supply had been depleted.