Luna Ye and YeM landers

After 11 previous attempts that ended in launch failure, loss during cruise or landing failure, the first successful landing on the Moon was achieved by 'automatic lunar station' Luna 9 in February 1966. Luna 9 was also the first of the series to be built by 0KB-301, thus being designated a Ye-6M, as opposed to the previous 11 Ye-6 craft. A further Ye-6M became Luna 13, carrying an augmented payload. The landers were 0.58 m diameter pressurised vessels, with a system of four petals that opened to bring the lander upright. They also acted as the ground plane for the whip antennas. The two figures (17.2 and 17.3) show Luna 9 and Luna 13, respectively. The earlier Ye-6 landers are perhaps most easily distinguished from Luna 9 by their noticeably different camera turret.

10 cm


The Moon


Prime contractor Launch site, vehicle

Sputnik 25 Lanch date 04/01/1963 Arrival date Landing site-co-ordinates End(s) of

Mission(s) Lander mass (kg)

Luna 5

Lanch date 09/05/1965 Arrival date Impacted

12/05/1965 Landing site ?

co-ordinates End(s) of

Mission(s) Lander mass (kg)

To achieve the first soft landing on the Moon and return imagery and other information on the lunar surface relevant to the design of subsequent missions OKB-1 then NPO Lavochkin (formerly OKB-301) Baikonour, Molniya 8K78 or 8K78M Luna 1963B Luna 4 Luna 1964A Luna 1964B Cosmos 60 Luna 1965A

03/02/1963 02/04/1963 21/03/1964 20/04/1964 12/03/1965 10/04/1965

Missed the moon

Luna 6

08/06/1965 Missed the Moon

Luna 7

04/10/1965 Impacted 07/10/1965

Luna 8

03/12/1965 Impacted 06/12/1965

Luna 9

31/01/1966 03/02/1966


Luna 13

21/12/1966 24/12/1966


Payload experiments

Luna 9: the first Ye-6M: 0.58 m diam. capsule

• Panoramic telephotometer (Selivanov)

• Mirrors & calibration targets/tilt indicators

• KS-17M radiation detector using SBM-10 tube(s) (Vernov?) says a gamma ray spectrometer was deleted from Luna 9 before launch. Keldysh (1980) mentions an LS seismometer (Sadovsky?) and an SG-57 3-axis boom-mounted magnetometer (Dolginov) - probably unflown Ye-6 payload candidates? The Ye-6 telephotometers were Volga instruments (Rosselevich) The Project Scientist was Aleksandr P. Vinogradov

Delivery architecture Thermal aspects Power aspects Communications architecture EDL architecture

Landing speed(s) Active operations

(deployments, etc.) Key references

Luna 13: 0.58m diam. capsule.

• Panoramic telephotometers (stereo pair) (Selivanov)

• ID-3 infrared radiometer (Lebedinskii, Krasnopolskii)

• GR-1 'gruntomer' penetrometer (Cherkasov)

• RP 'plotnomer' radiation densitometer (Cherkasov)

• KS-17MA radiation detector (Vernov?)

The Project Scientist was Aleksandr P. Vinogradov

Delivery by cruise/braking stage; descent direct from translunar trajectory; braking motor triggered by radar altimeter, followed by vernier engines for the final part of descent; separation of lander on contact with the surface Open-cycle water cooling Primary battery

Two-way DTE, transmissions phase modulated at 183.538 MHz

Airbag inflation and spring-loaded separation from descent stage on signal from 5 m contact probe. Jettison of airbags and opening of 4 petals Unknown

Opening of petals; deployment of whip antennas; deployment of plotnomer and gruntomer arms (Luna 13 only) Vinogradov 1966,1969; Cherkasov et al, 1968a,b; Morozov et al., 1968; Siddiqi et al, 2000; Siddiqi, 2002

Figure 17.2 Luna 9.
Luna Stereo Picture
Figure 17.3 Luna 13.
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