Launch Date April 15, 1960 | 15:06:44 UT
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 1 ​
Destination Earth's Moon
Type Flyby
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names Unnamed Luna


This spacecraft carried an improved radio telemetry system to return more detailed photos of the lunar far side. It also carried instruments to study cosmic rays and micrometeoroids in interplanetary space.


None. Premature engine cutoff gave the probe insufficient velocity and it eventually burned up in Earth's atmosphere.

In Depth

After the spectacular success of Luna 3, this spacecraft was launched to return more detailed photos of the lunar far side. The Ye-3 class vehicle was essentially a Ye-2A probe using a modified radio-telemetry system, but with the old Yenisey-2 imaging system. (A more advanced Ye-3 type with a new imaging system had been abandoned earlier.)

During the launch, the probe received insufficient velocity after premature third-stage engine cutoff. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 124,000 miles (200,000 kilometers) and then fell back to Earth and burned up in Earth's atmosphere, much like some of the early American Pioneer probes.


Launch Vehicle: 8K72 (no. 1l-9)

Spacecraft Mass: Unknown

Spacecraft Instruments:

  1. Yenisey-2 photographic-TV imaging system
  2. micrometeoroid detector
  3. cosmic-ray detector

Selected References

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

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