Launch Date June 8, 1959 | 08:08 UT
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 1 ​
Destination Earth's Moon
Type Impact
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names Unnamed Luna

Goals

The Soviet Union's fifth attempt at a lunar impact. The spacecraft was equipped with improved sensors as a result of interplanetary data sent back by Luna 1 and Pioneer 4.

Accomplishments

None. The spacecraft had to be destroyed by ground controllers after a gyroscope failed on the booster rocket 153 seconds after launch.

In Depth

The Soviet Ye-1A probe, like the Ye-1, was designed for lunar impact. Engineers had incorporated some minor modifications to the scientific instruments (a modified antenna housing for the magnetometer, six instead of four gas-discharge counters, and an improved piezoelectric detector) as a result of information received from the first Cosmic Rocket (Luna 1) and the American Pioneer 4.

The launch was originally scheduled for 16 June but was postponed for two days as a result of the negligence of a young lieutenant who inadvertently permitted fuelling of the upper stage with the wrong propellant. During the actual launch, one of the gyroscopes of the inertial guidance system failed at T+153 seconds, and the wayward booster was subsequently destroyed by command from the ground.

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: 8K72 (no. I1-7)

Spacecraft Mass: About 860 pounds (390 kilograms) with upper stage

Spacecraft Instruments:

  1. three-component magnetometer
  2. two gas-discharge counters
  3. piezoelectric detector
  4. scintillation counter
  5. ion traps

Selected References

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

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