Luna 5

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Luna 5
Mission type Lunar lander
COSPAR ID 1965-036A
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 1,474 kilograms (3,250 lb)[citation needed]
Start of mission
Launch date 9 May 1965, 07:49:37 (1965-05-09UTC07:49:37Z) UTC
Rocket Molniya-M 8K78M
Launch site Baikonur 1/5
Lunar impact (failed landing)
Impact date 12 May 1965, 19:10:00 (1965-05-12UTC19:11Z) UTC[citation needed]
Impact site 31°S 8°W / 31°S 8°W / -31; -8

Luna 5, or E-6 No.10, was an unmanned Soviet spacecraft intended to land on the Moon as part of the Luna programme. It was intended to become the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, however its retrorockets failed, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in Mare Nubium.

Launch[edit]

Luna 5 was launched by a Molniya-M carrier rocket, flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Liftoff occurred at 07:49:37 UTC on 9 May 1965. The spacecraft and Blok L upper stage entered a low Earth parking orbit, before the Blok L fired to propel Luna 5 towards the Moon.

Luna 5 became the first Soviet probe to be successfully launched towards the Moon in two years. Between it and the previous mission to be launched successfully, Luna 4, there were three launch failures: E-6 No.6 and No.5 in 1964 and Kosmos 60 in 1965.

Failure[edit]

Location of the Luna 5 impact (lower right), in relation to other lunar probes and landing sites.

Following the mid-course correction on 10 May, the spacecraft began spinning around its main axis due to a problem in a flotation gyroscope in the I-100 guidance system unit. A subsequent attempt to fire the main engine failed because of ground control error, and the engine never fired. As a result of these failures, the soft landing attempt failed, and Luna 5 impacted the Moon at coordinates of 31 degrees south and 8 degrees west. It was the second Soviet spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon, following Luna 2 in 1959. An observatory[who?] noted a 220-by-80-kilometre (137 by 50 mi) plume produced by the impact, which was visible for ten minutes.[citation needed]

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