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Kosmos 305
Kosmos 305 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Sample Return
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,

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

Exactly one lunar month after the failure of Kosmos 300, the Soviets launched another Ye-8-5 lunar sample-return spacecraft. Once again, the spacecraft failed to leave Earth orbit.

When the Blok D upper stage was meant to fire for translunar injection, telemetry readings went off-scale and communications were lost. There had apparently been a programming failure in one of the radio-command blocks designed to command the Blok D to fire.

The Soviet press merely referred to the probe as Kosmos 305. The spacecraft's orbit decayed over Australia before the craft completed a single orbit of Earth.

Key Dates
22 Oct 1969:  Launch
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Kosmos 305 Facts Fourth Soviet attempt to return samples from the Moon.

A programming error is believe to have led to a loss of communications and the booster rocket to carry the spacecraft out of Earth orbit never fired.

The Soviets renamed it as part of the Kosmos series of Earth-orbiting missions to disguise its true purpose to visit the Moon.
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Last Updated: 29 Nov 2010