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Solar System Exploration
Luna 4
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Luna 04
Luna 4 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Lander
Launch Vehicle: 8K78 (no. G103-11)
Launch Site: NIIP-5 / launch site 1
Spacecraft Mass: 1,422 kilograms
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system and 2) radiation detector
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,

The third Soviet attempt to perform a lunar soft-landing was the first in which the spacecraft actually left Earth orbit.

During the coast to the Moon, the spacecraft's Yupiter astronavigation system suffered a major failure (probably in its thermal control system) and left the probe in an incorrect attitude. As a result, Luna 4 was unable to perform its planned midcourse correction.

Although communications were maintained with the spacecraft, it passed by the Moon at a range of 8,500 kilometers on 6 April and eventually entered heliocentric orbit (after being in an intermediate barycentric orbit).

Key Dates
2 Apr 1963:  Launch
7 Apr 1963:  End of Lunar Mission
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Luna 04 Facts The goal of all three Soviet lunar lander missions in 1963 was primarily to study the Moon's terrain from the surface.

None of the 1963 spacecraft were successful.

The Soviet Luna 9 probe (above) eventually made the first survivable landing on the Moon in 1966.
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Last Updated: 29 Nov 2010