Launch Date June 14, 1969:
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 81P
Destination Earth’s Moon
Type Lander, Sample Return
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names


Land on the Moon, collect samples and return them to Earth.


None. A booster rocket malfunction caused the spacecraft to fall back to Earth without reaching orbit.

Key Dates

June 14, 1969: Launch

In Depth

The Ye-8-5 was a variant of the basic Ye-8 lunar-rover spacecraft developed by the Lavochkin design bureau. This particular version, whose development began in 1968, was designed to recover a small portion of soil from the lunar surface and return it to Earth.

It had the same basic lander stage ("KT") as that of the rover variant (built around a structure comprising four spherical propellant tanks linked together in a square), which was installed with a robot arm to scoop up lunar soil. The rover was replaced by a new "ascent stage" that was built around three spherical propellant tanks that consisted of a main rocket engine to lift off from the Moon, a pressurized compartment for electronics, and a small, 39-kilogram spherical capsule that would detach from the stage and re-enter Earth's atmosphere with its valuable payload of lunar dust.

On the first launch attempt of the Ye-8-5 robot scooper, the first three stages of the Proton worked without fault, but the Blok D fourth stage, which was to fire to attain orbital velocity, failed to ignite due to a disruption in the circuit of its guidance system. The spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific without reaching orbit.


Launch Vehicle:

Spacecraft Mass: about 5700 kg

Spacecraft Instruments:

  1. stereo imaging system
  2. remote arm for sample collection
  3. radiation 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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