Encyclopedia Astronautica
Luna Ye-8-5



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Ye-8 Lunar Lander
Ye-8 robot lunar soil return spacecraft.
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Ye-8 lunar probe
Ye-8 lunar sample return spacecraft - detail of drill and re-entry vehicle
Credit: © Mark Wade
luna15.jpg
Luna 17
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Luna Ye-8
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Ye-8 OKB-1 Rover
Ye-8 Lunokhod lunar rover - as designed by Korolev OKB-1 before project was handed over to Lavochkin.
Russian lunar lander. 11 launches, 1969.06.14 (Ye-8-5 VA) to 1975.10.16 (Luna 24). Unmanned lunar soil sample return.

Gross mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb).
First Launch: 1969.06.14.
Last Launch: 1976.08.09.
Number: 11 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • KTDU-417 Isayev Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 18.920 kN. Luna 15-24 descent stage. Out of Production. Isp=314s. Comprised turbopump-fed high-thrust engine with plus KTDU-417-B low-thrust engine. Eleven ignitions for lunar orbit insertion and orbit corrections. More...

See also
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • N1 1969 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. Development of the Proton began in 1962 as a two-stage vehicle that could be used to launch large military payloads or act as a ballistic missile with a 100 megaton nuclear warhead. The ICBM was cancelled in 1965, but development of a three-stage version for the crash program to send a Soviet man around the moon began in 1964. The hurried development caused severe reliability problems in early production. But these were eventually solved, and from the 1970's the Proton was used to launch all Russian space stations, medium- and geosynchronous orbit satellites, and lunar and planetary probes. More...
  • Proton-K/D Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was originally designed to send manned circumlunar spacecraft into translunar trajectory. Guidance to the Block D stage must be supplied by spacecraft. The design was proposed on 8 September 1965 by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon. The Korolev design was selected, and first flight came on 10 March 1967. The crash lunar program led to a poor launch record. Following a protracted ten year test period, the booster finally reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...
  • Proton-K/D-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This derivative of the original four stage Block D / 11S824 version of the Proton was used from 1978 to launch Lavochkin OKB planetary probes (Mars, Venera) and high earth orbit astronomical observatories (Astron, Granat). Guidance to the Block D-1 stage must be supplied by spacecraft. Equipped with N2O4/UDMH verniers for precise placement of payloads in high orbits or planetary trajectories. More...
  • N1 The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...
  • Lavochkin Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Lavochkin Design Bureau, Moscow, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Luna Soviet lunar probe series. Lunas were the first manmade objects to attain of escape velocity; to impact on the moon; to photograph the far side of the moon; to soft land on the moon; to retrieve and return lunar surface samples to the earth; and to deploy a lunar rover on the moon's surface. More...
  • Lunar L1 The Soviet program to put a man on a circumlunar flight around the moon. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Kaesmann, Ferdinand, et. al., "Proton - Development of A Russian Launch Vehicle", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1998, Volume 51, page 3.
  • Vladimirov, A, "Tablitsa zapuskov RN 'Proton' i 'Proton K'", Novosti kosmonavtiki, 1998, Issue 10, page 25.
  • National Space Science Center Planetary Page, As of 19 February 1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Chertok, Boris Yevseyevich, Raketi i lyudi, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1994-1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Kamanin, N P, Skritiy kosmos, Infortext, Moscow, 1995.
  • Melnik, T G, Voenno-Kosmicheskiy Siliy, Nauka, Moscow, 1997..
  • Siddiqi, Asif A, The Soviet Space Race With Apollo, University Press of Florida, 2003.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Luna Ye-8-5 Chronology


1968 February 27 - .
  • Soviet on plan through 1975 for automated probes to the moon and planets. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Keldysh; Barmin; Tereshkova. Spacecraft: DLB Lunar Base; Luna Ye-8; Luna Ye-8-5. Keldysh heads a Soviet on plans through 1975 for automated probes and space research of the moon and planets. Barmin attends, his interest being the relation of this work to his lunar base. Kamanin finds the plan not well thought out... Tereshkova sees Kamanin and tells him she cannot handle the stress of both political demands on her time and cosmonaut training. She wants Kamanin's assistance to get her out of political tasks.

1968 December 30 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • Meeting of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission to discuss how to beat the Americans to the lunar landing - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Chelomei; Okhapkin; Keldysh; Pilyugin; Babakin. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Luna Ye-8-5; LK-1. Ustinov called the meeting to order. Mishin was 'sick' again -- Okhapkin represented TsKBEM and gave a summary of the programme to that date:

    • The project had only been authorised on 3 August 1964. It consisted of two parts, circumlunar flights using Chelomei's UR-500K booster and LK-1 spacecraft, and a lunar landing using Korolev's N1 booster and L3 spacecraft.
    • On 25 October 1965 the programme was redirected. Military support was ordered and the decision was made to cancel Chelomei's LK-1 spacecraft and instead use the L1 version of Korolev's Soyuz for the circumlunar flights. This was ordered by the resolution 'On organisation of construction units for support of rocket-space systems for the lunar flyby'. That resolution ordered a manned L1 flight by the end of 1967 or early 1968.
    • The program actually took three years to implement rather than the two planned. Nine launches of he L1 had been made since March 1967, but it had not been possible to man-rate the UR-500K/L1 booster/spacecraft combination due to failures in both the launch vehicle and spacecraft. Flight trials of the N1 booster had not even begun yet.

    Keldysh proposed that further work on the L1 be abandoned, and Proton boosters instead be used to launch the Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robot spacecraft being developed by Babakin. Babakin had been accelerating this programme since the beginning of 1968 with the support of Keldysh, even though it would only return around 100 g of lunar soil, versus the tens of kilograms the Apollo manned flights would return. However it now offered an interesting possibility - he proposed obtaining lunar soil and returning it to earth before an American manned landing. The government's organs of mass communication would say that the Soviet Union's lunar program only consisted of robot probes, emphasising that his was much safer and that Russia would never risk it's citizen's lives for mere political sensation. Additional Details: here....


1969 January 8 - .
  • Plan for Soviet lunar and planetary launches to answer America's Apollo program during 1969 approved. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Babakin. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8; Lunokhod; Luna Ye-8-5; Soyuz 7K-L1; Venera 2V (V-69); Mars M-69. Summary: Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 19-10 'On Work on Research of the Moon, Venus and Mars by Automatic Stations--work on automated lunar and interplanetary spacecraft' was issued.. Additional Details: here....

1969 January 25 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Apollo vs Ye-8-5 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Luna; Apollo. Flight: Apollo 9. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. America is preparing Apollo 9 for flight, and Kamanin muses that the Soviet reply will be the N1 and Ye-8-5, neither of which is proven or reliable. The Soviet Union would have a better chance of sending a manned L1 on a flight around the moon during the first quarter of 1969. Meanwhile Mishin's bureau has a new L3M lunar lander on the drawing boards. This will land 4 to 5 men on the moon, but require two N1 or seven UR-500K launches to assemble in orbit.

1969 January 30 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1/Ye-8-5 launch preparations - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tyulin; Mishin. Program: Lunar L3; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Summary: Mishin agrees with Tyulin that he will fly to Tyuratam on 3 February to supervise launch of the Ye-8 on 18 February and the first N1 on 21 February. .

1969 February 3 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1/Ye-8 preparations - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; LK. Kamanin arrives at Tyuratam at 15:30 aboard an An-24. The State Commission for the first Ye-8 robot lunar rover mission is chaired by Tyulin at Area 31. The spacecraft will make a soft landing on the moon, deploy a mobile lunar rover that can traverse slopes up to 30 degrees. The rover will find a position that is clear of obstacles for the first Soviet manned lunar landing. It will then park there, and provide a landing beacon for the LK manned lander. The spacecraft will have a mass of 1700 kg in lunar orbit. Launch is set for 19-20 February.

1969 May 16 - .
  • Myth 'we were never in the moon race' disseminated by the Soviet Union - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Keldysh; Babakin. Program: Luna; Apollo; Lunar L3; Lunar L1. Flight: Apollo 11. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Keldysh first revealed the new 'party line' at a press conference on the semi-successful Venera 5 landing on Venus. When asked about Soviet lunar plans, he revealed that Russia would only use robot probes, that it wouldn't risk men's lives in such an endeavour. At the same time Babakin was hard at work finishing the first Ye-8-5 robot lunar soil return spacecraft, to be launched before Apollo 11.

1969 June 10 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Revised Soviet lunar plans - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; Luna Ye-8; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK. The VPK Military-Industrial Commission issues a decree on the schedule for the rest of 1969. There are to be five launches of Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robots, on 14 June, 13 and 28 July, 25 August, and 25 September. There are to be two launches of Ye-8 Lunokhod robot rovers on 22 October and 21 November. Further manned L1 flights are cancelled. There are no plans made for the L3 since the N1 is not ready.

1969 June 14 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 238-01. FAILURE: Block D upper stage did not fire and payload did not attain earth orbit,. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Ye-8-5 s/n 402 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 402. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1; Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-06-04 . COSPAR: F690614A. Another attempt to launch a Ye-8-5 to return lunar soil to the earth, 'scooping', the Americans' impending Apollo 11 mission. Yet another UR-500K launch failure. This time the UR-500K booster functioned perfectly, but the Block D upper stage did not fire, and the payload did not even attain earth orbit. Every UR-500K launch is costing the Soviet state 100 million roubles. This failure pretty much ended the chances for the Russians to trump the American moon landing. Tass yesterday began running stories to prepare the masses for the upcoming Apollo 11 triumph. The party line is that the Soviet Union is not about to risks the lives of its cosmonauts on flights to the moon, when automated probes can safely retrieve soil from the moon for study on earth. Additional Details: here....

1969 July 13 - . 02:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 242-01.
  • Luna 15 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 401. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-07-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 4036 . COSPAR: 1969-058A. Apogee: 870 km (540 mi). Perigee: 240 km (140 mi). Inclination: 126.0000 deg. Period: 160.00 min. Unmanned soil return mission launched coincident with Apollo 11 mission in last ditch attempt to return lunar soil to earth before United States. After completing 86 communications sessions and 52 orbits of the Moon at various inclinations and altitudes, crashed on the moon on 20 July in an attempted landing. Altitude data used in programming inaccurate or guidance system unable to cope with effect of lunar mascons.
    Officially: Testing of on-board systems of the automatic station and further scientific investigation of the moon and circumlunar space. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1969 September 5 - .
  • State Commission meets on the Luna 15 failure investigation - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. It is felt the problems are understood and go-ahead is given for the next lunar soil return robot launch attempt on 23 September. Kamanin considers this very unlikely to be successful -- all of the plans for automated spacecraft and their booster rockets have not been realised to date.

1969 September 19 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • L1 state commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Tyulin; Brezhnev. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; Soyuz 7K-L1. VPK Deputy Chairman Tyulin headed a state commission on the L1 programme. Mishin pushed for a manned L1 circumlunar flight in 1970. This meeting was only five days before a Ye-8-5 robot spacecraft was to have returned lunar soil from the earth. The Block D stage failed in earth orbit, and the flight was given the cover name Cosmos 300. This indicated the L1 system still did not have the necessary reliability for manned flight. Furthermore, politically, Brezhnev and the Politburo did not want to see a Khrushchev-originated project like the L1 succeed.

1969 September 23 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Two Volga buses transport the cosmonauts and VVS specialists to Area 31. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Beregovoi; Chelomei. Program: Luna. Flight: Soyuz 6; Soyuz 7; Soyuz 8. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. To ensure the buses do not exceed 60 km/hour checkpoints are manned along the roads. The readiness review is conducted form 10:00 to 13:00. The crews, and spacecraft are ready. Mishin is away 'sick' again. General Pushkin and Beregovoi are at Area 81 to view the Ye-8-5 launch. Kamanin likes Chelomei's UR-500K rocket. He blames its series of failures on its engines and Block D upper stage, not on the fundamental booster design. If it had been more successful, the Russians would have beaten the Americans in a lunar flyby. The launch proceeds as planned at 15:00, but the Block D fails to restart in parking orbit, and is given the cover name 'Cosmos 300'.

1969 September 23 - . 14:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 244-01. FAILURE: Block D lost LOX due to valve defect.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Cosmos 300 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 403. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-09-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 4104 . COSPAR: 1969-080A. Apogee: 189 km (117 mi). Perigee: 184 km (114 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 88.20 min. Summary: Robotic lunar soil return mission. Failed to leave low earth orbit due to Block D stage failure..

1969 September 24 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Ye-8-5 failure analysis - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tyulin; Savin; Smirnov. Program: Luna. Flight: Soyuz 6; Soyuz 7; Soyuz 8. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. The cause of the Ye-8-5 failure is found to be a valve that was stuck open after the first stage burn, resulting in the oxidiser boiling away in the vacuum of space. Tyulin inquires about the possibility of commanding the Ye-8-5 to conduct a series of manoeuvres and testing re-entry of the soil return capsule in the earth's atmosphere. An interesting concept, but the engineers have not planned for such an eventuality.

    NII-2 MO, represented by Lt General Korolev and Chief Designer Savin present plans for their Svinets experiment. It will observe ICBM rocket plumes from space in order to aid design of anti-ballistic missile systems. They had asked Smirnov to conduct a solid propellant rocket launch in order to test the device properly, but he could only schedule a liquid propellant rocket launch. Kamanin had wanted this experiment to be conducted aboard Voskhod 3, but Smirnov has cancelled that mission as well - delaying Soviet ABM development, in Kamanin's view.


1969 October 22 - . 14:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 241-01. FAILURE: Block D control system failure.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Cosmos 305 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 404. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1969-10-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 4150 . COSPAR: 1969-092A. Apogee: 208 km (129 mi). Perigee: 182 km (113 mi). Inclination: 51.4000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. Summary: Robotic lunar soil return mission. Failed to leave low earth orbit due to Block D stage failure..

1970 February 6 - . 04:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. Launch Pad: LC81/23?. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 247-01. FAILURE: Failure of vehicle on launch.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Ye-8-5 s/n 405 - failure of vehicle on launch - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 405. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1970-02-06 . COSPAR: F700206A. Summary: Robotic lunar soil return mission..

1970 September 12 - . 13:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 248-01.
  • Luna 16 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 406. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1970-09-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 4527 . COSPAR: 1970-072A. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi). Perigee: 110 km (60 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 119.00 min. Lunar Sample Return. Landed on Moon 20 September 1970 at 05:18:00 GMT, Latitude 0.68 S, Longitude 56.30 E - Mare Fecunditatis. Luna 16 was launched toward the Moon from a preliminary earth orbit and entered a lunar orbit on September 17, 1970. On September 20, the spacecraft soft landed on the lunar surface as planned. The spacecraft was equipped with an extendable arm with a drilling rig for the collection of a lunar soil sample. After 26 hours and 25 minutes on the lunar surface, the ascent stage, with a hermetically sealed soil sample container, left the lunar surface carrying 100 grams of collected material. It landed in the Soviet Union on September 24, 1970. The lower stage of Luna 16 remained on the lunar surface and continued transmission of lunar temperature and radiation data. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1970 September 18 - .
  • Luna 16 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Summary: Luna 16 is underway. This is the latest attempt to obtain lunar soil Five previous launches failed, four due to UR-500K booster failures. Luna 15 almost made it but crashed on the moon..

1970 September 20 - .
  • Luna 16 lands on moon. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Luna 16 first placed itself into a 106 x 15 km lunar orbit, inclination 71 degrees. After the trajectory was measured and calculations made on earth, it was instructed to make its Phase 1 descent using a timed burn. Phase 2 began at 600 m altitude. From this point the new-design braking rocket was controlled automatically according to height and velocity as measured by radar. At 220 m altitude the main engine shut down, and small braking rockets fired. These were shut down just 2 m above the surface. At 08:18 Luna 16 successfully made a soft landing on the moon. Getting there required 68 communications sessions over nine days of flight. At 10:00 the drill obtains the soil sample and inserts it into the return capsule.

1970 September 21 - .
  • Luna 16 ascent stage heads for earth. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. At 10:43 the Luna 16 ascent stage fires, thrusting the return capsule with the lunar soil toward the earth. It will land somewhere on Soviet territory within a 1500 km radius of Dzhezkazgan. The 25 cm diameter capsule is equipped with a 10 square meter parachute. It was thought that it would take 10 to 15 launches to perfect this system, but instead it has succeeded on the sixth attempt.

1970 September 24 - .
  • Luna 16 returns lunar soil to earth. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Summary: Luna 16 lands only 30 km from its aim point, 80 km southeast of Dzhezkazgan. There was ideal weather in the recovery area, the radio beacon worked well, and a helicopter picked up the capsule only a few minutes after landing..

1971 September 2 - . 13:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 256-01.
  • Luna 18 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 407. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1971-09-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 5448 . COSPAR: 1971-073A. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Perigee: 100 km (60 mi). Inclination: 35.0000 deg. Period: 119.00 min. Attempted lunar soil return mission; crashed while attempting to soft land at Latitude 3.57 N, Longitude 50.50 E - Mare Fecunditatis. Luna 18 used a new method of navigation in lunar orbit and for landing. The spacecraft's designer, Babakhin, had died at age 56 only the month before. Luna 18 successfully reached earth parking orbit before being put on a translunar trajectory. On September 7, 1971, it entered lunar orbit. The spacecraft completed 85 communications sessions and 54 lunar orbits before it was sent towards the lunar surface by use of braking rockets. It impacted the Moon on September 11, 1971, in a rugged mountainous terrain. Signals ceased at the moment of impact. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1972 February 14 - . 03:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 258-01.
  • Luna 20 - . Payload: Ye-8-5 s/n 408. Mass: 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1972-02-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 5835 . COSPAR: 1972-007A. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Perigee: 100 km (60 mi). Inclination: 65.0000 deg. Period: 118.00 min. Soft landed on Moon; returned soil samples to Earth. Landed on Moon 21 February 1972 at 19:19:00 GMT, Latitude 3.57 N, Longitude 56.50 E - Mare Fecunditatis. Luna 20 was placed in an intermediate earth parking orbit and from this orbit was sent towards the Moon. It entered lunar orbit on February 18, 1972. On 21 February 1972, Luna 20 soft landed on the Moon in a mountainous area known as the Apollonius highlands, 120 km from where Luna 18 had crashed. While on the lunar surface, the panoramic television system was operated. Lunar samples were obtained by means of an extendable drilling apparatus. The ascent stage of Luna 20 was launched from the lunar surface on 22 February 1972 carrying 30 grams of collected lunar samples in a sealed capsule. It landed in the Soviet Union on 25 February 1972. The lunar samples were recovered the following day.

1974 October 28 - . 14:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 285-01.
  • Luna 23 - . Payload: Ye-8-5M s/n 410. Mass: 5,300 kg (11,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1974-11-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 7491 . COSPAR: 1974-084A. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi). Perigee: 17 km (10 mi). Failed lunar soil return mission. After successfully entering earth orbit, flying to the moon, entering lunar orbit, and descending toward the surface, the spacecraft was damaged during landing in Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises). The sample collecting apparatus could not operate and no samples were returned. The lander continued transmissions for three days after landing. In 1976, Luna 24 landed several hundred meters away and successfully returned samples. Parameters are for lunar orbit.

1975 October 16 - . 04:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 287-02. FAILURE: Block D stage failed.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Ye-8-5M s/n 412 - Block D stage failed. - . Payload: Ye-8-5M s/n 412. Mass: 5,300 kg (11,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1975-10-16 . COSPAR: F751016A. Summary: Attempted robotic lunar soil return mission. Block D stage failed..

1976 August 9 - . 15:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 288-02.
  • Luna 24 - . Payload: Ye-8-5M s/n 413. Mass: 5,306 kg (11,697 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5. Decay Date: 1976-08-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 9272 . COSPAR: 1976-081A. Apogee: 115 km (71 mi). Perigee: 115 km (71 mi). Inclination: 120.0000 deg. Period: 119.00 min. Lunar Sample Return. Landed on Moon 18 Aug 1976 at 02:00:00 GMT, Latitude 12.25 N, Longitude 62.20 E - Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis). The last of the Luna series of spacecraft, Luna 24 was the third Soviet mission to retrieve lunar ground samples (the first two were returned by Luna 16 and 20). The mission successfully returned 170 grams of lunar samples to the Earth on 22 August 1976.

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