Luna 8

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Luna 8
Mission type Lunar lander
COSPAR ID 1965-099A
Mission duration 3 days
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 1,550 kilograms (3,420 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 3 December 1965, 10:46:14 (1965-12-03UTC10:46:14Z) UTC
Rocket Molniya 8K78
Launch site Baikonur 31/6
Lunar impact (failed landing)
Impact date 6 December 1965, 21:51:30 (1965-12-06UTC21:51:31Z) UTC
Impact site 9°36′N 62°00′W / 9.6°N 62°W / 9.6; -62
Map showing the location of Luna 8 near the lower left, in relation to other moon missions.

Luna 8 (E-6 series), also known as Lunik 8, was a lunar space probe of the Luna program. It was launched in on December 3, 1965 with the objective of achieving a soft landing on the Moon. However, its retrorocket firing occurred too late, and suffered a hard impact on the lunar surface on the Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms). The mission did complete the experimental testing of its stellar-guidance system and the ground-control of its radio telemetry equipment, its flight trajectory, and its other instrumentation.

This, the eleventh Soviet attempt to achieve a lunar soft landing, nearly succeeded. After a successful midcourse correction on 4 December, this spacecraft headed toward the Moon without any apparent problems. Just before the scheduled firing of its retrorocket, a command was sent to inflate cushioning air bags around the landing probe. However, plastic mounting bracket apparently pierced one of the two air bags. The resulting ejection of the air put the spacecraft into a spin of about 12 degrees per second. The spacecraft momentarily regained its proper attitude, long enough for a nine-second-long retrorocket firing, but Luna 8 became unstable again. Without a retrorocket burn long enough to reduce its velocity sufficiently for a survivable landing, Luna 8 plummeted to the lunar surface and crashed at 21:51:30 UT on 6 December just west of the Kepler Crater. The coordinates of the crash site are 9°8' north lunar latitude and 63°18' west lunar longitude.

  • Launch date/time: 1965-12-03[clarification needed] at 10:48:00 UTC
  • On-orbit dry mass: 1,550 kg (3,420 lb)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Luna 7
Luna programme Succeeded by
Luna 9