Luna 1
Overview
 
Luna
Luna programme
The Luna programme , occasionally called Lunik or Lunnik, was a series of robotic spacecraft missions sent to the Moon by the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1976. Fifteen were successful, each designed as either an orbiter or lander, and accomplished many firsts in space exploration...

 1
(E-1 series), first known as First Cosmic Ship, then known as Mechta ' onMouseout='HidePop("66904")' href="/topics/Literal_translation">lit.
Literal translation
Literal translation, or direct translation, is the rendering of text from one language to another "word-for-word" rather than conveying the sense of the original...

: Dream) was the first spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 to reach the vicinity of the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 and the first of the Luna program of Soviet automatic interplanetary stations successfully launched in the direction of the Moon.

While traveling through the outer Van Allen radiation belt
Van Allen radiation belt
The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles around Earth, which is held in place by Earth's magnetic field. It is believed that most of the particles that form the belts come from solar wind, and other particles by cosmic rays. It is named after its discoverer, James...

, the spacecraft's scintillator
Scintillator
A scintillator is a special material, which exhibits scintillation—the property of luminescence when excited by ionizing radiation. Luminescent materials, when struck by an incoming particle, absorb its energy and scintillate, i.e., reemit the absorbed energy in the form of light...

 made observations indicating that a small number of high energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 particle
Subatomic particle
In physics or chemistry, subatomic particles are the smaller particles composing nucleons and atoms. There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which are not made of other particles, and composite particles...

s exist in the outer belt.
Encyclopedia
Luna
Luna programme
The Luna programme , occasionally called Lunik or Lunnik, was a series of robotic spacecraft missions sent to the Moon by the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1976. Fifteen were successful, each designed as either an orbiter or lander, and accomplished many firsts in space exploration...

 1
(E-1 series), first known as First Cosmic Ship, then known as Mechta ' onMouseout='HidePop("66904")' href="/topics/Literal_translation">lit.
Literal translation
Literal translation, or direct translation, is the rendering of text from one language to another "word-for-word" rather than conveying the sense of the original...

: Dream) was the first spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 to reach the vicinity of the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 and the first of the Luna program of Soviet automatic interplanetary stations successfully launched in the direction of the Moon.

While traveling through the outer Van Allen radiation belt
Van Allen radiation belt
The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles around Earth, which is held in place by Earth's magnetic field. It is believed that most of the particles that form the belts come from solar wind, and other particles by cosmic rays. It is named after its discoverer, James...

, the spacecraft's scintillator
Scintillator
A scintillator is a special material, which exhibits scintillation—the property of luminescence when excited by ionizing radiation. Luminescent materials, when struck by an incoming particle, absorb its energy and scintillate, i.e., reemit the absorbed energy in the form of light...

 made observations indicating that a small number of high energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 particle
Subatomic particle
In physics or chemistry, subatomic particles are the smaller particles composing nucleons and atoms. There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which are not made of other particles, and composite particles...

s exist in the outer belt. The measurements obtained during this mission provided new data on the Earth's radiation belt and outer space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

. The Moon was found to have no detectable magnetic field
Magnetic field
A magnetic field is a mathematical description of the magnetic influence of electric currents and magnetic materials. The magnetic field at any given point is specified by both a direction and a magnitude ; as such it is a vector field.Technically, a magnetic field is a pseudo vector;...

. The first ever direct observations and measurements of the solar wind
Solar wind
The solar wind is a stream of charged particles ejected from the upper atmosphere of the Sun. It mostly consists of electrons and protons with energies usually between 1.5 and 10 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed over time...

, a strong flow of ionized plasma
Plasma (physics)
In physics and chemistry, plasma is a state of matter similar to gas in which a certain portion of the particles are ionized. Heating a gas may ionize its molecules or atoms , thus turning it into a plasma, which contains charged particles: positive ions and negative electrons or ions...

 emanating from the Sun and streaming through interplanetary space, were performed. That ionized plasma concentration was measured to be some 700 particles per cm3 at altitudes 20-25 thousand km and 300 to 400 particles per cm3 at altitudes 100-150 thousand km. The spacecraft also marked the first instance of radio communication at the half-million-kilometer distance.

A malfunction in the ground-based control system caused an error in the rocket's burntime, and the spacecraft missed the target and flew by the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 at a distance of 5,900 km at the closest point. Luna 1 then became the first man-made object to reach heliocentric orbit
Heliocentric orbit
A heliocentric orbit is an orbit around the Sun. All planets, comets, and asteroids in our Solar System are in such orbits, as are many artificial probes and pieces of debris. The moons of planets in the Solar System, by contrast, are not in heliocentric orbits as they orbit their respective planet...

 and was then dubbed a "new planet" and renamed Mechta. Its orbit lies between those of Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 and Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

. The name "Luna-1" was applied retroactively years later. Luna-1 was originally referred to as the "First Cosmic Rocket", in reference to its achievement of escape velocity.

The spacecraft

The scientific equipment and the satellite's power center were located in the spherical container, combining for a mass of 361.3 kg. Five antennae extended from one hemisphere. Instrument ports also protruded from the surface of the sphere. The spacecraft contained radio equipment
Radio equipment
Radio equipment, as defined in Federal Information Management Regulations, is any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used to communicate over a distance by modulating and radiating electromagnetic waves in space without artificial guide...

, a tracking transmitter
Tracking transmitter
A Tracking transmitter broadcasts a radio signal which can be detected by a directional antenna By rotating the antenna one can determine the direction the signal lies in and of course whatever it may be attached to...

, a telemetry
Telemetry
Telemetry is a technology that allows measurements to be made at a distance, usually via radio wave transmission and reception of the information. The word is derived from Greek roots: tele = remote, and metron = measure...

 system, five different sets of scientific devices for studying interplanetary space (including a magnetometer
Magnetometer
A magnetometer is a measuring instrument used to measure the strength or direction of a magnetic field either produced in the laboratory or existing in nature...

, geiger counter
Geiger counter
A Geiger counter, also called a Geiger–Müller counter, is a type of particle detector that measures ionizing radiation. They detect the emission of nuclear radiation: alpha particles, beta particles or gamma rays. A Geiger counter detects radiation by ionization produced in a low-pressure gas in a...

, scintillation counter
Scintillation counter
A scintillation counter measures ionizing radiation. The sensor, called a scintillator, consists of a transparent crystal, usually phosphor, plastic , or organic liquid that fluoresces when struck by ionizing radiation. A sensitive photomultiplier tube measures the light from the crystal...

, and micrometeorite detector), and other equipment. The total final (with fuel spent) mass of the third (upper) stage rocket with the spacecraft was 1472 kg.

It was intended that after a completion of its scientific mission of in-flight measurements, Luna-1 would crash into the Moon, delivering two metallic pennants with the Soviet coat of arms that were included into its package.

The flight

Luna 1 was launched 2 January 1959 at 16:41 GMT (19:41 Moscow Time
Moscow Time
Moscow Time is the time zone for the city of Moscow, Russia and most of western Russia, including Saint Petersburg. It is the second westernmost of the nine time zones of Russia. Moscow Time has been UTC+4 year-round since 27 March 2011....

) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
The Baikonur Cosmodrome , also called Tyuratam, is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, about east of the Aral Sea, north of the Syr Darya river, near Tyuratam railway station, at 90 meters above sea level...

 by a Luna 8K72 rocket.

Luna 1 became the first ever man-made object to reach the escape velocity
Escape velocity
In physics, escape velocity is the speed at which the kinetic energy plus the gravitational potential energy of an object is zero gravitational potential energy is negative since gravity is an attractive force and the potential is defined to be zero at infinity...

 of the Earth (what is also known as the second cosmic velocity), when it separated from its 1472 kg third stage. The third stage, 5.2 m long and 2.4 m in diameter, traveled along with Luna 1. On 3 January, 3:56:20 Moscow Time
Moscow Time
Moscow Time is the time zone for the city of Moscow, Russia and most of western Russia, including Saint Petersburg. It is the second westernmost of the nine time zones of Russia. Moscow Time has been UTC+4 year-round since 27 March 2011....

, at a distance of 119,500 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

 gas was released by the spacecraft, thus making this probe also the first artificial comet
Comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

. This glowing orange trail of gas, visible over the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star for a few minutes, was photographed by Mstislav Gnevyshev at the Mountain Station of the Main Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR near Kislovodsk
Kislovodsk
Kislovodsk is a city in Stavropol Krai, Russia, which lies in the North Caucasian region of the country, between the Black and Caspian Seas. The closest airport is located in the city of Mineralnye Vody. Population:...

. It served as an experiment on the behavior of gas in outer space. Luna 1 passed within 5995 km of the Moon's surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. It went into orbit around the Sun, between the orbits of Earth and Mars.

See also

  • Pioneer 4
    Pioneer 4
    Pioneer 4 was a spin-stabilized spacecraft launched as part of the Pioneer program on a lunar flyby trajectory and into a heliocentric orbit making it the first U.S. probe to escape from the Earth's gravity. It carried a payload similar to Pioneer 3: a lunar radiation environment experiment using a...

     - a similar NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     mission launched 3 March 1959, two months after Luna 1.
  • FACTBOX - Reuters - Planned lunar missions
  • Reuters: CHRONOLOGY - Five key dates in the race to the moon

External links

  • Boris Chertok
    Boris Chertok
    Boris Evseyevich Chertok is a prominent Soviet and Russian rocket designer, responsible for control systems of a number of ballistic missiles and spacecraft. Author of a four-volume book Rockets and People, the definitive source of information about the history of the Soviet space program.-Books...

    , "Rakety i liudi: goriachie dni, kholodnoy voyny", Moscow, "Mashinostroenie", 2-nd edition, 1999. Section 2-7. Luna (program) in Great Soviet Encyclopedia
    Great Soviet Encyclopedia
    The Great Soviet Encyclopedia is one of the largest and most comprehensive encyclopedias in Russian and in the world, issued by the Soviet state from 1926 to 1990, and again since 2002 .-Editions:There were three editions...

    .
  • Zarya - Luna 1 chronology
  • NASA NSSDC Luna 1 webpage
  • Mstislav Gnevyshev's photograph of Luna 1 in flight
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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