1e succesfull Lunar soft landing on February 3, 1966 on 18:44:52 UT (7.13°N 64.37°W)
Mass at launch
03 Feb 1966 - 18:44:52 UT
6 days. Last transmission February 6, 1966 - 22:55 UT
Testing of E-6 landing bag.
Luna 9 (E-6 series), also known as Lunik 9 (internal name E-6 N. 13), was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union's Luna program. On February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth.
1e successful soft landing on the moon began with 1583 kg spacecraft being placed in earth parking orbit of 219 x 167 km at 51.9° inclination and 88.3 min period.
Moon intercept apogee of 400000 km achieved and retro-rocket package worked correctly after orientation at a height of 8280 km. The side-mounted instrument packages were jettisoned at 75 km altitude when the retro began its 48 seconds burn.
At this time a 5m boom was also extended downwards, which when contact was made with the moon stopped the rocket firing and released a pin to pop the 100 kg sphere upward so it could roll to one side, where the ballasted capsule would stop then open four petals to reveal the instruments.
The automatic lunar station that achieved the soft landing weighed 99 kg. It was a hermetically sealed
container with radio equipment, a program timing device, heat control
systems, scientific apparatus, power sources, and a television system.
It landed in the Sea of Storms at 7°8'N 64°33'W on February 3, 1966;
the four petals, which formed the spacecraft, opened outward and
stabilized the spacecraft on the lunar surface. Spring-controlled
antennas assumed operating positions, and the television camera
rotating mirror system, which operated by revolving and tilting, began
a photographic survey of the lunar environment.
At 4 min's 10sec after landing started sending radio signals back via its three 1.12m aerials and four petal-mounted antennas. The television began operating 8 hours after landing and send back three panoramas in the form of 27 pictures using a periscope mechanism.
Seven radio sessions, totaling 8 hours and 5 minutes, were transmitted as were three series
of TV pictures.
When assembled, the photographs provided a panoramic view of the
nearby lunar surface. The pictures included views of nearby rocks and
of the horizon 1.4 km away from the spacecraft.
For unknown reasons, the pictures from Luna 9 were not released immediately by the Soviet authorities. Instead, the Jodrell Bank Observatory,
which was monitoring the craft, noticed that the signal format used was
identical to the internationally-agreed system used by newspapers for
transmitting pictures. The Daily Express
rushed a suitable receiver to the Observatory and the pictures from
Luna 9 were decoded and published world-wide. The BBC reports
speculation that the spacecraft's designers deliberately fitted the
probe with equipment that conformed to the standard, specifically to
enable reception of the pictures by Jodrell Bank.
With this mission, the Soviets accomplished another spectacular
first in the space race, the first survivable landing of a humanmade
object on another celestial body. Luna 9 was the twelfth attempt at a
soft-landing by the Soviets; it was also the first deep space probe
built by the Lavochkin
design bureau, which ultimately would design and build almost all
Soviet (and Russian) lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. All
operations prior to landing occurred without fault, and the
58-centimeter spheroid ALS capsule landed on the Moon at 18:45:30 UT on
3 February 1966
west of the Reiner and Marius craters in the Ocean of Storms (at 7°8'
north latitude and 64°22' west longitude). Approximately 5 minutes
after touchdown, Luna 9 began transmitting data to Earth, but it was 7
hours (after the Sun climbed to 7° elevation) before the probe began
sending the first of nine images (including five panoramas) of the
surface of the Moon.
These were the first images sent from the surface of another
planetary body. The radiation detector, the only scientific instrument
on board, measured a dosage of 30 millirads (0.3 milligrays) per day .
Perhaps the most important discovery of the mission was determining
that a foreign object would not simply sink into the lunar dust, that
is, that the ground could support a heavy lander. Last contact with the
spacecraft was at 22:55 UT on 6 February 1966.