Fast Facts: Unnamed Moon Mission (Ye-6 No. 3)

This Soviet lunar lander crashed in the Pacific Ocean near Midway Island without reaching orbit.

The mission was not acknowledged at the time by the Soviet Union. Historians have identified it as part of the Soviet Luna series of Moon missions.


This was the second Soviet attempt to accomplish a soft-landing on the Moon (planned for Feb. 6, 1963 at 20:34:04 UT).

This time, the spacecraft failed to reach Earth orbit. After launch, at around T+105.5 seconds, the rocket began to lose attitude control along the pitch axis, which spread to the yaw axis after separation from the core booster. The third and fourth stages (along with payload) traced an arc and reentered over the Pacific Ocean near Midway Island.

Later investigation indicated that the I-100 control system provided incorrect information to the booster’s trajectory control system.


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

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