Encyclopedia Astronautica
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Luna E-1
Luna 1 / E-1
Luna 1 / E-1
Credit: NASA
Russian lunar impact probe. The first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity and the first to reach the Moon. The spacecraft was sphere-shaped. Five antennae extended from one hemisphere.

AKA: E-1. Status: Operational 1958. First Launch: 1958-09-23. Last Launch: 1959-01-02. Number: 4 . Gross mass: 361 kg (795 lb).

Instrument ports also protruded from the surface of the sphere. There were no propulsion systems on the spacecraft itself. The spacecraft also included various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms.

At a distance of 113,000 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft. This glowing orange trail of gas, with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star, allowed astronomers to track the spacecraft. It also served as an experiment on the behavior of gas in outer space. The spacecraft contained radio equipment, a tracking transmitter, and telemetering system, five different sets of scientific devices for studying interplanetary space, including a magnetometer, Geiger counter, scintillation counter, and micrometeorite detector, and other equipment. The measurements obtained during the missions provided new data on the Earth's radiation belt and outer space, including the discovery that the Moon had no magnetic field and that a solar wind, a strong flow of ionized plasma emanating from the Sun, streamed through interplanetary space.

Subtopics

Luna E-1A Russian lunar impact probe. First probe to impact lunar surface. Delivered a pennant to the surface of the Moon and conducted research during flight to the Moon.

Family: Lunar Crashers, Moon. Country: Russia. Launch Vehicles: R-7, Vostok-L 8K72. Projects: Luna. Launch Sites: Baikonur, Baikonur LC1. Agency: Korolev bureau. More at: 12770. Bibliography: 175, 2, 296, 474, 6.
Photo Gallery

Luna 1Luna 1
Credit: Manufacturer Image



1958 March 20 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72.
  • Soviet lunar probes authorised. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Luna. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. Decree 'On work on automated lunar probes and three-stage launch vehicles for them' was issued..

1958 September 2 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72.
  • Launch of Soviet Luna probes authorised. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Luna. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. Decree 'On launch of automated lunar probes November' was issued..

1958 September 23 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72. FAILURE: Launcher disintegrated 93 seconds after launch due to longitudinal resonance of strap-ons.. Failed Stage: 0.
  • Luna failure - booster disintegrated at T+92 seconds - . Payload: E-1 s/n 1. Mass: 361 kg (795 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Glushko, Korolev. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. This was the start of an acrimonious debated between Glushko and Korolev design bureaux over the fault and fix for the problem..

1958 October 11 - . 08:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72. FAILURE: Launcher disintegrated 104 seconds after launch due to longitudinal resonance of strap-ons.. Failed Stage: 0.
  • Luna failure - booster disintegrated at T+104 seconds - . Payload: E-1 s/n 2. Mass: 361 kg (795 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1.

1958 December 4 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72. FAILURE: Core engines shut off at 245 seconds into the flight. Cause was a loss of lubrication to the hydrogen peroxide pump.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Luna failure - booster core shut down at T+245 seconds - . Payload: E-1 s/n 3. Mass: 361 kg (795 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1.

1959 January 2 - . 16:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72. FAILURE: Failure of the launch vehicle control system.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Luna 1 - . Payload: E-1 s/n 4. Mass: 361 kg (795 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. USAF Sat Cat: 112 . COSPAR: 1959-Mu-1.

    Lunar probe; passed within 5,995 km of moon but did not hit it as planned due to a failure of the launch vehicle control system. Went into solar orbit. First manmade object to attain of escape velocity. Also known as Mechta ("Dream"), popularly called Lunik I. Because of its high velocity and its announced package of various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms, it was concluded that Luna 1 was intended to impact the Moon. After reaching escape velocity, Luna 1 separated from its 1472 kg third stage. The third stage, 5.2 m long and 2.4 m in diameter, travelled along with Luna 1. On 3 January, at a distance of 113,000 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft. This glowing orange trail of gas, visible over the Indian Ocean with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star, allowed astronomers to track the spacecraft. It also served as an experiment on the behavior of gas in outer space. Luna 1 passed within 5,995 km of the Moon's surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. It went into orbit around the Sun, between the orbits of Earth and Mars. The measurements obtained during this mission provided new data on the Earth's radiation belt and outer space, including the discovery that the Moon had no magnetic field and that a solar wind, a strong flow of ionized plasma emmanating from the Sun, streamed through interplanetary space.


1959 June 18 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72. FAILURE: Inertial system failed at 153 seconds after launch. Vehicle destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Luna failure - inertial system failed at T+153 seconds - . Payload: E-1A s/n 5. Mass: 387 kg (853 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1A.

1959 September 12 - . 06:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72.
  • Luna 2 - . Payload: E-1A s/n 6. Mass: 387 kg (853 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1A. Decay Date: 1959-09-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 114 . COSPAR: 1959-Xi-1.

    First probe to impact lunar surface. Delivered a pennant to the surface of the Moon and conducted research during flight to the Moon. Impacted Moon 13 Sep 1959 at 22:02:04 UT, Latitude 29.10 N, Longitude 0.00 - Palus Putredinis, east of Mare Serenitatis near the Aristides, Archimedes, and Autolycus craters. After launch and attainment of escape velocity, Luna 2 separated from its third stage, which travelled along with it towards the Moon. On 13 September the spacecraft released a bright orange cloud of sodium gas which aided in spacecraft tracking and acted as an experiment on the behavior of gas in space. On 14 September, after 33.5 hours of flight, radio signals from Luna 2 abruptly ceased, indicating it had impacted on the Moon. Some 30 minutes after Luna 2, the third stage of its rocket also impacted the Moon. The mission confirmed that the Moon had no appreciable magnetic field, and found no evidence of radiation belts at the Moon.



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