Launch Date May 29, 1974 | 08:56:51 UT
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia Launch Site 81P
Destination Earth's Moon
Type Orbiter
Status Successful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names Ye-6LS (no. 220), Lunik 21, 07315

Goals

Luna 22 was to orbit the Moon, imaging the surface and conducting remote-sensing measurements.

Accomplishments

In addition to its primary mission of surface photography from lunar orbit, Luna 22 studied the chemical composition of the lunar surface, recorded meteoroid activity, searched for a lunar magnetic field, measured solar and cosmic radiation flux, and continued studies of the irregular magnetic field.

Key Dates

May 29, 1974 | 08:56:51 UT: Launch

June 2, 1974: Lunar Orbit Insertion

April 2, 1975: Begin Extended Mission

Sept. 2, 1975: Maneuvering Propellent Depleted

November 1975: End of Mission

In Depth

Luna 22 was the second of two "advanced" lunar orbiters (the first being Luna 19) designed to conduct extensive scientific surveys from orbit. Launched about a year after the termination of Lunokhod 2 rover operations on the Moon’s surface, Luna 22 performed a single midcourse correction en route the Moon on May 30 before entering lunar orbit on June 2, 1974. Initial orbital parameters were 136 x 138 miles (219 x 222 kilometers) at 19 degrees 35 minutes inclination.

In addition to its primary mission of surface photography, Luna 22 also investigated the chemical composition of the lunar surface, recorded meteoroid activity, searched for a lunar magnetic field, measured solar and cosmic radiation flux, and continued studies of the irregular magnetic field. Throughout various orbital changes, Luna 22 performed without any problems and continued to return photos 15 months into the mission, although its primary mission had ended by April 2, 1975. The spacecraft's maneuvering propellant was finally depleted on Sept. 2, and the highly successful mission was formally terminated in early November 1975.

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: Proton booster plus upper stage and escape stages, 8K82K + Blok D (Proton-K no. 282-02)

Spacecraft Mass: 12,566 pounds (5,700 kilograms); about 4,200 pounds (1,900 kilograms) in lunar orbit

Spacecraft Instruments

  1. Imaging system

  2. Gamma-ray spectrometer

  3. Radio-altimeter

  4. Meteoroid detectors

  5. Magnetometer

  6. Cosmic-ray detectors

  7. Radiation detectors

Additional Resources

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalogue: Luna 22

National Space Science Data Center: Soviet Lunar Missions

Selected References

Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002.

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