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Luna 17

Courtesy of NASA's National Space Science Data Center

Launch Date: 1970-11-10
Launch Site/Country: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R.
Launch Vehicle: Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage and Escape Stages
On-orbit dry mass: 5600.00 kg. (12,320 lb.)

Description

Luna 17 was launched from an earth parking orbit towards the Moon and entered lunar orbit on November 15, 1970. The spacecraft soft landed on the Moon in the Sea of Rains. The spacecraft had dual ramps by which the payload, Lunokhod 1, descended to the lunar surface. Lunokhod 1 was a lunar vehicle formed of a tub-like compartment with a large convex lid on eight independently powered wheels. Lunokhod was equipped with a cone-shaped antenna, a highly directional helical antenna, four television cameras, and special extendable devices to impact the lunar soil for soil density and mechanical property tests. An x-ray spectrometer, an x-ray telescope, cosmic-ray detectors, and a laser device were also included. The vehicle was powered by a solar cell array mounted on the underside of the lid. Lunokhod was intended to operate through three lunar days but actually operated for eleven lunar days. The operations of Lunokhod officially ceased on October 4, 1971, the anniversary of Sputnik 1. Lunokhod had traveled 10.54 kilometers (6.55 miles) and had transmitted more than 20,000 TV pictures and more than 200 TV panoramas. It had also conducted more than 500 lunar soil tests.

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