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Lunokhod 1

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Lunokhod series Soviet Moon exploration robot vehicle
Lunokhod series Soviet Moon exploration robot vehicle
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A panorama shot from Lunokhod 1
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A photo from Lunokhod 1 showing the Luna 17 lander
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The tracks of Lunokhod showing the "little wheel" in the center that was used for odometry.

Lunokhod 1 was the first of two unmanned lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of its Lunokhod program. The spacecraft which carried Lunokhod 1 was named Luna 17. Lunokhod was the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world.

  • Launch Date/Time: 1970-11-10 at 14:44:01 UTC
  • On-orbit dry mass: 5600 kg

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 on November 17. The lander had dual ramps from which the payload, Lunokhod 1, could descend 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 10,540m 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.

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