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Luna 17/Lunokhod 1



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 at 3:46:50 UT on November 17 at 38.23764 N, 35.00163 W. 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 10,540 m 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. Lunokhod 1 is located at 38.3150 N, 35.0081 W.

Spacecraft rendered image credit NASA/NSSDCA (public domain)

Alternate Names

  • 04691
  • Luna 17
  • Luna17/Lunokhod1
  • Lunik 17
  • Lunokhod 1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1970-11-10
Launch Vehicle: Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage and Escape Stages
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 5600 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (U.S.S.R)


  • Planetary Science
  • Space Physics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Artem IvankovGeneral ContactLavochkin

Selected References

  • Luna-17, Soviet Report, 4, No. 10, Dec. 1970.
  • Gurshteyn, A. A., et al., Automatic station Luna-17 in the Sea of Rains, Priroda, No. 11, 2-4, 1971.
  • Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England, 1996.
  • Chaikin, A., The other Moon landings - A Soviet triumph in the shadow of Apollo, Air Space, 30-37, Feb./Mar. 2004.
Image of Lunokhod model

Lunokhod model

Image of Lunokhod mission

Lunokhod mission profile

Images above for illustrative purposes only, not necessarily in the public domain.

Lunokhod and Luna 17/21 Lander models on display at the NPO Lavochkin Museum.
Courtesy of Alexander Chernov and the Virtual Space Museum. All rights reserved.

Luna 21/Lunokhod 2 Information

Other Soviet Lunar Missions
Lunar Science Home Page

Lunokhod rendering

Rendering of Lunokhod Rover (credit NASA/NSSDCA - public domain)

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