|Launch Date||Oct. 4, 1965 | 07:56:40 UT|
|Launch Site||Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR, NIIP-5 / launch site 1|
|Alternate Names||Ye-6 (no. 11), Yunik 7, 01610, automatic interplanetary station|
The Soviet Union intended Luna 7 to land softly on the lunar surface
None. The spacecraft crashed into the Moon due to loss of attitude control
Oct. 4, 1965 | 07:56:40 UT: Launch
Oct. 5, 1965: Midcourse correction
Oct. 7, 1965 | 22:08:24 UT: Collided with Moon’s surfac
Unlike its predecessors, Luna 7 successfully carried out its midcourse correction on the way to the Moon, in anticipation of a soft landing two days later. But during final approach to the lunar surface, the spacecraft suddenly lost attitude control and failed to regain it. Automatic programmed systems then prevented the main engine from firing.
As controllers observed helplessly, Luna 7 plummeted at a very high speed and collided with the lunar surface on Oct. 7 at 9.8 degrees north, 47.8 degrees west, in the Sea of Storms region of the Moon, not far from its intended landing site.
Later investigation indicated that the optical sensor of the astronavigation system had been set at the wrong angle and had lost sight of Earth during the critical attitude-control maneuver. It was the tenth consecutive failure in the Soviet Ye-6 program.
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with 2nd Generation Upper Stage + Escape Stage, 8K78 (no. U103-27)
Spacecraft Mass: 3,320 pounds (1,506 kilograms)
Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002.