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Luna 22



Luna 22 was a lunar orbiter mission. The spacecraft carried imaging cameras and also had the objectives of studying the Moon's magnetic field, surface gamma ray emissions and composition of lunar surface rocks, and the gravitational field, as well as micrometeorites and cosmic rays.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

Nearly identical to Luna 19, Luna 22 was based on the third generation Ye-8LS orbiter bus. It had a launch mass of about 5700 kg. The bus was similar to the descent stage of the Lunokhod lander missions, consisting of a collection of propellant tanks and rockets, topped by a disc-shaped platform. Two booms protruded radially from opposite sides holding conical antennas and a magnetometer. Mounted on the top platform was a pressurized, hermetically sealed container holding the scientific equipment. It had a hinged lid that would expose solar panels when opened.

Luna 22 carried 2 television cameras, a Vega radar altimeter, and ARL gamma-ray spectrometer, an RV-2N-1 radiation detector, a SIM-RMCh micrometeoroid detector, an SG-70 magnetometer, and an AKR-1 low-frequency radio-wave detector. It also carried two engineering tests, one involving a study of lubricants on different frictional surfaces, and one looking at the effects of coatings with different reflective properties.

Mission Profile

Luna 22 was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 29 May 1974 at 8:56:51 UT on a Proton-K booster with a Blok D upper stage into Earth parking orbit and then to the Moon. After one mid-course correction on 30 May it was inserted into a 219 x 221 km, 19.6 degree inclination, 2 hour, 10 minute lunar orbit on 2 June 1974. The spacecraft made many orbit adjustments over its 18 month lifetime in order to optimize the operation of various experiments, lowering the perilune to as little as 25 km, and raising the apolune to as high as 1578 km. Maneuvering fuel was exhausted on 2 September 1975 and the mission was ended in early November. The spacecraft orbit would have decayed naturally, resulting in an impact at an unknown location on the surface, probably some time in 1976.

Spacecraft image for illustrative purposes - not necessarily in the public domain.

Alternate Names

  • 07315
  • Luna22

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1974-05-29
Launch Vehicle: Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage and Escape Stages
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 4000 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

  • Shelton, W., Soviet space exploration - the first decade, Arthur Barker Ltd., Unnumbered, London, England, 1969.
  • Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England, 1996.
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