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The history of space exploration 1966 – the first artificial lunar satelliteApril 3, 2017
On April 3, 1966 the Luna-10 automatic station entered lunar orbit and injected the world’s first artificial lunar satellite. This allowed people to see the backside of the natural earth satellite.
The launch of the Luna – 10 automatic station was performed on March 21, 1966 by the Molniya-M launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The spacecraft was developed and manufactured by S.A. Lavochkin NPO.
When approaching the Moon on April 3 the lunar vertical was built and the propulsion system was fired for braking, which having operated 57 seconds, ensured the injection of the artificial lunar satellite into orbit. Twenty seconds upon termination of the engine operation the pressurized container with scientific equipment was separated from the correcting brake propulsion system, which became the world’s first artificial lunar satellite called Luna-10.
For 56 days of active existence of the satellite in lunar orbit 219 communication sessions were held with it, valuable scientific information was obtained. The flight program intended for the Luna-10 station was completed in full scope. During the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union the melogy of the Internationale was heard from the Luna-10 satellite; the Party Congress delegates were listened to it standing.
For the first time the Luna-10 station received data on general chemical composition of the Moon by nature of gamma radiation of its surface. The total level of gamma radiation of lunar rocks slightly exceeds the level of gamma radiation above the rocks of the Earth’s crust. The content of natural radioactive elements (K, U, Th) for the first time was measured by gamma spectrometry and the type of rocks on the lunar surface was determined. The presence of unoxidized “forms” of iron, titanium and silicon was detected on the surface of the regolith particles. The albedo of penetrating corpuscular radiation created by primary cosmic radiation was also measured, which allowed to conclude that the Moon has no radiation belts.
The disturbance analysis of the Luna-10 station trajectory made it possible to preliminarily determine parameters of the Moon’s gravitational field. During the time of active existence the statin twice crossed the Earth’s magnetosphere “tail”, which was recorded by scientific devices.
Based on the results of the Luna-10 flight International Aviation Federation (FAI) registered the priority scientific and technological achievements of the station: the artificial lunar satellite injection; carrying out scientific and technical research and measurements for the first time using an automatic station injected into the artificial lunar satellite orbit.
ROSCOSMOS Press Service