Launch Date Oct. 11, 1958 | 23:41:58 UT
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 1 ​
Destination Earth's Moon
Type Impact
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union (2)
Alternate Names Unnamed Luna


Study the environment of interplanetary space and then crash into the Moon.


None. Vibrations in the strap-on boosters caused the launch vehicle to explode 104 seconds after launch.

In Depth: Ye-1 No. 2 (Luna)

This mission was the second attempt by the Soviet Union to send a probe to the Moon. The spacecraft never left Earth’s atmosphere. The launch vehicle exploded at T+104 seconds due to vibrations in the strap-on boosters. A similar malfunction caused Ye-1 No. 1 to disintegrate at T+93 seconds.

This mission was one of four initial probes approved by the Soviet government: Ye-1 (for lunar impact), Ye-2 (to photograph the far side of the Moon), Ye-3 (to photograph the far side of the Moon with advanced imaging equipment), and Ye-4 (lunar impact with a nuclear explosion).


Launch Vehicle: 8K72 (no. B1-4)

Spacecraft Mass: About 794 pounds (360 kilograms) including upper stage

Spacecraft Instruments:

  1. Fluxgate magnetometer
  2. Sodium-iodide scintillation counter
  3. Two gas discharge Geiger counters
  4. Two micrometeorite counters
  5. Cherenkov detector
  6. Four ion traps
  7. Sodium vapor experiment
  8. Scintillation counter

Key Source

​Siddiqi, Asif A. Beyond Earth: A Chronicle of Deep Space Exploration, 1958-2016. NASA History Program Office, 2018.

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