A museum replica
|Mission type||Lunar impactor|
|Harvard designation||1959 Mu 1|
|Launch mass||361 kilograms (796 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||January 2, 1959 16:41:21UTC|
|Launch site||Baikonur 1/5|
|Semi-major axis||1.146 AU|
|Lunar flyby (failed impact)|
|Closest approach||4 January 1959|
|Distance||5,995 kilometres (3,725 mi)|
Luna 1 (also known as the First Cosmic Ship, Cosmic Rocket and Mechta (Russian: Мечта, Literal translation: Dream)) was a space probe of the Soviet Union. It was the first mission in the Luna programme and it was the first spacecraft to reach the Moon. Luna 1 made some key scientific discoveries and it is one of the best achievements of the Soviet Union space programme.
Design[change | change source]
The spacecraft was sphere-shaped. Five antennae came out of one end. Instrument ports came out of the surface of the sphere. It also had various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms.
Instruments[change | change source]
Luna 1 had radio equipment, a tracking transmitter and a telemetering system for communication with Earth. The spacecraft carried several scientific devices too. These included a magnetometer, a device for measuring magnetic fields, a scintillation counter, a device for detecting high energy particles and a geiger counter, a device for measuring radiation. Luna 1 also carried a micrometeorite detector and other equipment.
Mission[change | change source]
The space probe was launched on January 2, 1959 at Baikonur Cosmodrome by a SS-6 Sapwood rocket. The launch was successful and Luna 1 became the first man-made object ever to reach the escape velocity of the Earth.
Luna 1 was intended to impact the Moon's surface. However, on January 4, 1959, it passed within 5995 km of the Moon and began to orbit the Sun between the orbits of Earth and Mars, where it is still orbiting now, on a 450 day orbit. Thus, Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to orbit the Sun.
Discoveries[change | change source]
The spacecraft made some key discoveries. One is the Moon has no magnetic field. Another is the fact that there is a flow of ionized plasma coming from the Sun, now called solar wind. The probe also found out useful data about Earth's radiation belt, the Van Allen radiation belt.
References[change | change source]
Other websites[change | change source]
- "Luna - Exploring the Moon". Zarya. Retrieved 2011-08-18.