Courtesy of NASA's National Space Science Data Center
Launch Date: 1970-09-12
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.)
Luna 16 was launched toward the Moon from a preliminary earth orbit and
entered a lunar orbit on September 17, 1970. On September 20, the spacecraft
soft landed on the lunar surface in Mare Foecunditatis (the Sea of
Fertility) as planned. According to the Bochum Radio Space Observatory in
the Federal Republic of Germany, strong and good quality television pictures
were returned by the spacecraft. However, such pictures were not made
available to the U.S. by any sources so there is question as to the
reliability of the Bochum report. The spacecraft was equipped with an
extendable arm with a drilling rig for the collection of a lunar soil
sample. After 26 hours and 25 minutes on the lunar surface, the ascent
stage, with a hermetically sealed soil sample container, left the lunar
surface. It landed in the Soviet Union on September 24, 1970. The lower
stage of Luna 16 remained on the lunar surface and continued transmission of
lunar temperature and radiation data.
Views of the Solar System Copyright © 1997 by
Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.