CCCP Lunar Program - Luna-1 medal.
Jan. 2, 2021
Saturday, January 2, 2021, marks 62 years of the launch of the first interplanetary station "Luna-1". This Soviet automatic interplanetary station was designed to study the moon and outer space. Despite the fact that it did not get to the moon, Luna-1 became the first spacecraft in the world to reach the second space velocity - 11 km / s, overcome the gravity of the Earth and become an artificial satellite of the Sun.
The launch of the Vostok-L carrier rocket, which put the Luna-1 station on the flight path to the Moon, was performed on January 2, 1959. It was a rendezvous trajectory, without using a launch from orbit. The station also had the names "Luna-1D" and "Dream". To achieve the second space speed, the carrier was equipped with a third stage (block "E"), with an RD0105 engine, created at the "Chemical Automation Design Bureau" (Voronezh, today it is part of the State Corporation "Roscosmos").
A day later, on January 3, at 3 hours 56 minutes and 20 seconds, at a distance of 119,500 km from Earth, "Luna-1" "turned" into an artificial comet, releasing a sodium cloud from a special container. This artificial comet has been seen by people in many countries. At 6 o'clock on January 4, 1959, the station passed the point of its trajectory closest to the Moon (5-6 thousand kilometers).
As already mentioned, the station did not reach the moon. The reason why the station did not reach the lunar surface is due to an error that crept into the flight sequence: when the command to cut off the third stage engine, which was issued from the Earth, did not take into account the signal travel time from the command post to the station. However, the Luna-1 mission made it possible to understand and work out the technology of flight to a natural satellite of the Earth for subsequent spacecraft. Already on September 14, 1959, at 00:02:24, the Luna-2 station for the first time in the world reached the surface of the Moon in the region of the Sea of Rains near the craters Aristilles, Archimedes and Autolycus.
Among the outstanding scientific results obtained during the Luna-1 flight, the following can be noted:
- For the first time, the outer radiation belt of the Earth was registered with the help of an onboard magnetometer;
- With the help of ion traps and particle counters, the first direct measurements of the solar wind parameters were carried out;
- It was found that the moon has no significant magnetic field.
ROSCOSMOS Press Release: https://www.roscosmos.ru/29771/
Images, Text, Credits: ROSCOSMOS/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.
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