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Luna 6

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Luna 6
Mission typeLunar lander
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1965-044A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.01393Edit this on Wikidata
Mission duration10 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeYe-6
Launch mass1,442 kilograms (3,179 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date8 June 1965, 07:41:00 (1965-06-08UTC07:41Z) UTC[1]
RocketMolniya-M 8K78M
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5
End of mission
Last contactCosmic radiation measurement ended 18 June 1965[2]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHeliocentric
Lunar flyby (failed landing)
Closest approach11 June 1965
Distance160,000 kilometres (99,000 mi)
← Luna 5
Luna 7 →

Luna 6, or E-6 No.7 (Ye-6 series) was an uncrewed Soviet spacecraft which was intended to perform a landing on the Moon as part of the Luna program. Due to the failure of a mid-course correction manoeuvre, Luna 6 failed to land, instead flying past the Moon at a distance of 160,000 kilometres (99,000 mi).



Luna 6 was launched by a Molniya-M carrier rocket flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Liftoff occurred at 07:40 UTC on 8 June 1965, with the spacecraft and Blok L upper stage entering a low Earth parking orbit, before the upper stage propelled the spacecraft into a heliocentric orbit passing the Moon.



The Luna 6 mission proceeded as planned until a scheduled mid-course correction late on 9 June. Although the spacecraft's S5.5A main engine ignited on time, it failed to cut off and continued to fire until its propellant supply was exhausted. An investigation later determined that the problem had been due to a command which had been mistakenly sent to the timer that ordered the main engine to shut down.[3]

Despite the spacecraft being unable to land on the Moon, controllers used the spacecraft to simulate a landing; a task which was satisfactorily accomplished. Luna 6 flew past the Moon late on 11 June,[1] with a closest approach of 159,612.8 kilometres (99,178.8 mi). Contact was maintained to a distance of 600,000 kilometres (370,000 mi) from Earth.


  1. ^ a b c NASA. "Luna 6". NASA. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  2. ^ Lyubimov, G. P. (11 October 1967). "Measurement of the Intensity of Cosmic Radiation During the Flights of Automatic Interplanetary Stations Zond-1, Zond-2, Zond-3, Luna-5, Luna-6" (PDF). From last graph of Fig. 1. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  3. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "Russia's Unmanned Missions". Russian Space Web. Retrieved 2 December 2016.