Luna 5 was the second Soviet spacecraft to impact on the Moon (following Luna 2 in 1959).

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Luna 5 became the first Soviet probe to head for the Moon in two years. Following a midcourse correction on May 10, 1965, the spacecraft began spinning around its main axis due to a problem in a floatation gyroscope in the I-100 control system unit. The gyroscopes apparently had had too little time to warm up before being used for attitude control.

A subsequent attempt to fire the main engine failed due to ground control error. A third attempt also failed, and having lost control of the spacecraft due to the gyroscope problem, controllers stood by helplessly as Luna 5 crashed on the surface of the Moon at 19:10 UT on May 12, 1965 in the Sea of Clouds, about 435 miles ( 700 kilometers) from its planned landing point. Landing coordinates were 31 degrees south latitude and 8 degrees west longitude.

It was the second Soviet spacecraft to impact on the Moon (following Luna 2 in 1959).

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