Luna E-1 No.1

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E-1 No.1
Mission type Lunar impactor
Mission duration Failed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 361 kilograms (796 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 23 September 1958 (1958-09-23)
Rocket Luna 8K72 s/n B1-3
Launch site Baikonur 1/5

Luna E-1 No.1,[1] sometimes identified by NASA as Luna 1958A,[2] was a Soviet Luna E-1 spacecraft which was intended to impact the Moon. It did not accomplish this objective as it was lost in a launch failure. It was the first of four E-1 missions to be launched.[3]

Luna E-1 No.1 was a 361-kilogram (796 lb) spacecraft which marked the first Soviet attempt to send a spacecraft to the towards the Moon. It was also the first mission of the Luna programme. The spacecraft was intended to release 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of sodium, in order to create a "comet" of the metal which could be observed from Earth, allowing the spacecraft to be tracked.[4] Prior to the release of information about its mission, NASA correctly identified that it had been an attempted lunar impact mission.[2]

As Chief Designer Sergei Korolev knew that the United States was planning to launch a lunar probe on August 17, he faced considerable pressure getting the Luna and its booster ready for launch. Despite a number of technical issues, the pad crews managed to get the booster ready on the 17th, but Korolev instead decided to let the US flight go first on the reasoning that the Luna probe had a shorter trajectory to travel and would reach the Moon first. After that launch ended in a booster explosion, he decided to postpone the flight until the glitches with the 8K72 and Luna could be worked out.

Luna E-1 No.1 was launched on 23 September 1958 atop a Luna 8K72 carrier rocket,[5] flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.[1] Ninety two seconds after launch, longitudinal resonance within the rocket's strap-on booster rockets caused the vehicle to disintegrate.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Williams, David R. (6 January 2005). "Tentatively Identified Missions and Launch Failures". NASA NSSDC. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Luna E-1". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Wade, Mark. "Luna E-1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "Soyuz". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 26 July 2010.