Luna E-3 No.2

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Luna E-3 No.2
Mission type Lunar flyby
Mission duration Failed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type E-3
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 279 kilograms (615 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 16 April 1960, 16:07:41 (1960-04-16UTC16:07:41Z) UTC
Rocket Luna 8K72 s/n L1-9A
Launch site Baikonur 1/5

Luna E-3 No.2,[1] sometimes identified by NASA as Luna 1960B,[2] was a Soviet spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure in 1960. It was a 279-kilogram (615 lb) Luna E-3 spacecraft,[3] the second of two to be launched,[4] both of which were lost in launch failures.[4] It was intended to fly around the moon on a circumlunar trajectory in order to image the surface of the Moon, including the far side. The E-3 spacecraft were similar in design to the E-2A which had been used for the earlier Luna 3 mission, however they carried higher resolution cameras, and were intended to make closer flybys.


Luna E-3 No.2 was launched at 16:07:41 UTC on 16 April 1960, atop a Luna 8K72 carrier rocket,[5] flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.[1] The Blok-B strap-on booster reached only 75% thrust and broke away from the booster almost immediately at liftoff. The launch vehicle then disintegrated, the strap-ons flying in random directions and exploding as they impacted the ground. Meanwhile, the core stage flew for some distance until crashing into a salt lake. Considerable damage to launch facilities resulted from this mishap.[5] Prior to the release of information about its mission, NASA correctly identified that it had been an attempted circumlunar imagery mission.[2]


  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. ^ Wade, Mark. "Luna E-3". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "Luna E-3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "Soyuz". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 

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