Luna 10

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Luna 10
Luna 10 Musee du Bourget P1010504.JPG
Luna 10 mockup, Le Bourget (France)
Mission typeLunar orbiter
OperatorGSMZ Lavochkin
COSPAR ID1966-027A
SATCAT no.02126
Mission duration60 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeE-6S
ManufacturerGSMZ Lavochkin
Launch mass1582 kg
Dry mass540 kg
Start of mission
Launch date31 March 1966, 10:48:00 GMT
RocketMolniya-M 8K78M
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 31/6
End of mission
Last contact30 May 1966
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Periselene altitude2088 km
Aposelene altitude2738 km
Period178.05 minutes
Lunar orbiter
Orbital insertion3 April 1966, 18:44 GMT
Gamma-ray spectrometer
Five gas-discharge counters
Two ion traps/charged particle trap
Piezoelectric micrometeorite detector
Infrared detector
Low-energy x-ray photon counters

Luna 10 (E-6S series) was a 1966 Soviet Luna program, robotic spacecraft mission, also called Lunik 10. It was the first artificial satellite of the Moon.[1]

The spacecraft[edit]

Scientific instruments included a gamma-ray spectrometer for energies between 0.3–3 MeV (50–500 pJ), a triaxial magnetometer, a meteorite detector, instruments for solar-plasma studies, and devices for measuring infrared emissions from the Moon and radiation conditions of the lunar environment. Gravitational studies were also conducted.

Luna 10 conducted extensive research in lunar orbit, gathering important data on the strength of the Moon's magnetic field, its radiation belts, and the nature of lunar rocks (which were found to be comparable to terrestrial basalt rocks), cosmic radiation, and micrometeoroid density. Perhaps its most important finding was the first evidence of mass concentrations (called "mascons") — areas of high density below the mare basins that distort lunar orbital trajectories. Their discovery has usually been credited to the American Lunar Orbiter series.

The flight[edit]

The Luna 10 spacecraft was launched towards the Moon from an Earth-orbiting platform on 31 March 1966.[2] The spacecraft entered lunar orbit on 3 April 1966 and completed its first orbit 3 hours later (on 4 April Moscow time).[3] After a midcourse correction on 1 April, Luna 10, the second of two hastily prepared Soviet Ye-6S probes (that is, the backup), successfully entered lunar orbit two days later at 18:44 GMT. A 245-kilogram[2] instrument compartment separated from the main bus, which was in a 350 x 1,000-kilometer orbit inclined at 71.9° to the lunar equator.

Luna 10 was battery powered and operated for 460 lunar orbits and 219 active data transmissions before radio signals were discontinued on 30 May 1966.

The Internationale[edit]

The spacecraft carried a set of solid-state oscillators that had been programmed to reproduce the notes of "The Internationale", so that it could be broadcast live to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[4] During a rehearsal on the night of 3 April, the playback went well, but the following morning, controllers discovered a missing note and played the previous night's tape to the assembled gathering at the Congress — claiming it was a live broadcast from the Moon.[5]

  • Launch Date/Time: 31 March 1966 at 10:48 GMT
  • On-orbit dry mass: 540 kg
Preceded by
Kosmos 111
Luna programme Succeeded by
Luna 11


  1. ^ Siddiqi, Asif A. (2018). Beyond Earth: A Chronicle of Deep Space Exploration, 1958–2016 (PDF). The NASA history series (second ed.). Washington, D.C.: NASA History Program Office. p. 1. ISBN 9781626830424. LCCN 2017059404. SP2018-4041.
  2. ^ a b Kopal, Zdeněk (23 September 1971). "A New Photographic Atlas of the Moon". Taplinger – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Sarasota Herald-Tribune". Sarasota Herald-Tribune – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Siddiqi, Asif A. (2002). "Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958–2000" (PDF). NASA History Office. Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 24. p. 53.

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