Soviet Union — Roscosmos
Luna 9: Lunar Landing

Mission Details

Mission Name: Luna 9
Mission Type: Lunar Lander
Operator: Soviet Union (Roscosmos)
Launching State: Soviet Union/Russia
Location: Oceanus Procellarum
Latitude: 8
Longitude: -64
Launch Date: 31 January 1966, 11:41:37 UT
Landing Date: 3 February 1966, 18:45:30 UT
Objects on or Related to Site:
Luna 9
Image Source: NASA


Luna 9 was intended to, and did, achieve the first soft landing on the Moon. The lander proved spacecraft would not simply sink into lunar dust, a finding that paved the way for future Moon landings, including the Apollo missions.

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Heritage Consideration

Luna 9 was the first human spacecraft to make a soft landing on a celestial body other than Earth.

Object on or Related to Site

Object Name: Luna 9
Cospar: 1966-006A
Norad: N/A
Location: Precise location unknown or undisclosed.
Launch Date: 31 January 1966, 11:45:00 UT
Landing Date: 3 February 1966, 18:45:30 UT
Deployment: N/A
End Date: 6 December 1965
Function: Continue investigations of a lunar soft landing.
Image Source: NASA


Luna 9 was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data from the Moon’s surface to Earth, preceding the U.S. Surveyor 1 soft lander by about 4 months. The probe also proved that the lunar surface could support the weight of a lander and that an object would not sink into a loose layer of dust as some models predicted. Luna 9 launched on 31 January 1966 from Baikonur Cosmodrome and reached the Moon on 3 February.

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