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Solar System Exploration
Zond 6
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Zond 06
Zond 6 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Flyby
Launch Vehicle: 8K82K + Blok D (Proton-K no. 235-01 / Blok D no. 19)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome),, NIIP-5 / launch site 81L
Spacecraft Mass: about 5,375 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) biological payload; 2) radiation detectors; 3) imaging system; 4) photo-emulsion camera and; 5) micrometeoroid 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,

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

Zond 6 was the second spacecraft that the Soviets sent around the Moon.

Soon after translunar injection, ground controllers discovered that the vehicle's high-gain antenna had failed to deploy. Given that the main attitude- control sensor was installed on the antenna boom, controllers had to make plans to use a backup sensor for further attitude control.

The spacecraft circled the far side of the Moon at a range of 2,420 kilometers, once again taking black-and-white photographs of the Moon.

During the return flight, temperatures in a hydrogen peroxide tank for the attitude-control thrusters dropped far below acceptable levels. Engineers attempted to heat the tank by direct sunlight, but as they later discovered, such a procedure affected the weak pressurization seal of the main hatch and led to slow decompression of the main capsule.

Despite the failures, Zond 6 successfully carried a fully automated guided reentry into the primary landing zone in Kazakhstan.

A radio altimeter, not designed for work in depressurized spacecraft, issued an incorrect command to jettison the main parachutes. As a result, the spacecraft plummeted to the ground and was destroyed. Although the main biological payload was lost, rescuers salvaged film from the cameras.

Key Dates
10 Nov 1968:  Launch
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Zond 06 Facts This was the second soviet spacecraft to fly around the Moon and return to Earth.

The spacecraft crashed on Earth.

Although the biological payload was descroyed, rescuers salvaged film from the spacecraft cameras.
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Last Updated: 2 Dec 2010