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Luna 18



Luna 18 was placed in an Earth parking orbit after it was launched and was then sent towards the Moon. On September 7, 1971, it entered lunar orbit. The spacecraft completed 85 communications sessions and 54 lunar orbits before it was sent towards the lunar surface by use of braking rockets. It impacted the Moon on September 11, 1971, at roughly 3 degrees 34 minutes N, 56 degrees 30 minutes E (selenographic coordinates) in a rugged mountainous terrain. Signals ceased at the moment of impact. A Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image shows a crater which may be the Luna 18 impact site at 3.76 N, 56.66 E, but this is unconfirmed as of February 2020.

Alternate Names

  • Lunik 18
  • 05448
  • Automatic Station Luna
  • Luna18

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1971-09-02
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

  • Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England, 1996.
  • Johnson, N. L., Handbook of soviet lunar and planetary exploration - volume 47 science and technology series, Amer. Astronau. Soc. Publ., 1979.
  • Soviet space programs, 1971-75 - volume 1, Unpublished, Unnumbered, 1976.
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