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Luna 8
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Luna 8
Luna 8 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Lander
Launch Vehicle: SS-6 (Sapwood) with 2nd Generation Upper Stage + Escape Stage, 8K78 (no. U103-28)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR, NIIP-5 / launch site 3
Spacecraft Mass: 1,552 kg
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,

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

This Soviet attempt to achieve a lunar soft-landing nearly succeeded. After a successful midcourse correction on 4 December, the spacecraft headed toward the Moon without any apparent problems.

Just prior to the planned retro-fire burn, a command was sent to inflate cushioning airbags around the ALS lander probe. Unfortunately, a plastic mounting bracket apparently pierced one of the two bags. The resulting expulsion of air put the spacecraft into a spin of 12 degrees per second. The vehicle momentarily regained attitude, long enough for a 9-second retro-engine firing, but then lost it again.

Without a full retro-fire burn to reduce approach velocity sufficient for a survivable landing, Luna 8 plummeted to the lunar surface and crashed at 21:51:30 UT on 6 December just west of the Kepler crater. Impact coordinates were 9°8' north latitude and 63°18' west longitude.

Key Dates
3 Dec 1965:  Launch
6 Dec 1965:  Lunar Impact
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Luna 8 Facts This was the Soviet Union's fifth attempt to make a survivable landing on the Moon.

A punctured air bag caused the spacecraft to spin and it couldn't slow down enough to make a safe landing.

The Soviet Union launched 10 of the 15 interplanety spacecraft sent into deep space in 1965.
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Last Updated: 29 Nov 2010