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Luna 24 Descent Craft



The last of the Luna series of spacecraft, the Luna 24 probe was the third Soviet mission to retrieve lunar ground samples (the first two were returned by Luna 16 and 20). The probe landed in the area known as Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) at 12.7142 N, 62.2129 E on 18 August 1976. The mission successfully returned the samples to the Earth on August 22, 1976. Using a sample arm and drill, the mission successfully collected 170.1 grams of lunar samples and deposited them into a collection capsule. The capsule was launched from the Moon at 5:25 UT on 19 August and landed at 5:55 UT on 22 August in western Siberia, about 200 km southeast of the town of Surgut, where the samples were collected for scientific study.

For more detail on this mission, see:

Alternate Names

  • 09384
  • Luna24DescentCraft

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1976-08-09
Launch Vehicle: Proton
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (U.S.S.R)


  • Planetary Science
  • Space Physics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office


Selected References

  • Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley and 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.

[Luna 24 Return Capsule]
Luna 24 sample return capsule

[Luna 16,20,24 return capsules]
Sample return capsules from Luna 16, 20, and 24 on display at the NPO Lavochkin Museum
Courtesy of Alexander Chernov and the Virtual Space Museum

Luna 24 Orbiter Information

Other Soviet Lunar Missions
Lunar Science Home Page

[Luna 24 Mission]
Profile of Luna 24 Mission

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