Luna 5

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Luna 5 (E-6 series) was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program, also called Lunik 5. It was designed to continue investigations of a lunar soft landing. The retrorocket system failed, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface at the Sea of Clouds.

Mission summary

In May 1965, Luna 5 became the first Soviet probe to head for the Moon in two years. Between it and the previous Luna 4, there were three launch failures (Luna 1964A on 21 March 1964; Luna 1964B on 20 April 1964; and Zond 1964A on 10 April 1965) and one partial failure (Cosmos 60, launched on 12 March 1965, which reached Earth orbit but failed to leave for the Moon).

Following the mid-course correction on 10 May, the spacecraft began spinning around its main axis due to a problem in a flotation gyroscope in the I-100 guidance system unit. A subsequent attempt to fire the main engine failed because of ground control error, and the engine never fired. After loss of control as a result of the gyroscope problem, Luna 5 crashed. Landing coordinates were 31° south latitude and 8° west longitude. It was the second Soviet spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon (following Luna 2 in 1959). An observatory noted a 220x80 kilometer cloud lasting for ten minutes at the impact site.

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External links

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