Luna E-6 No.3

Luna E-6 No.3, also identified as No.2 and sometimes by NASA as Luna 1963B,[1] was a Soviet spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure in 1963. It was a 1,422-kilogram (3,135 lb) Luna E-6 spacecraft,[2] the second of twelve to be launched,[3] and the second consecutive launch failure.[3] It was intended to be the first spacecraft to perform a soft landing on the Moon, a goal which would eventually be accomplished by the final E-6 spacecraft, Luna 9.

Luna E-6 No.3
Mission typeLunar lander
Mission durationFailed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeE-6
Launch mass1,422 kilograms (3,135 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date3 February 1963, 09:29:14 (1963-02-03UTC09:29:14Z) UTC
RocketMolniya-L 8K78/E6 s/n G103-10
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5

Luna E-6 No.3 was launched at 09:26:14 UTC on 3 February 1963, atop a Molniya-L 8K78L carrier rocket,[3] flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.[4] A torque sensor in the gyroscope used to control the pitch of the upper stage malfunctioned, resulting in control of the rocket being lost.[5] The spacecraft failed to achieve orbit, and reentered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.[5] Prior to the release of information about its mission, NASA correctly identified that it had been an attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon. However, they believed the launch had occurred on 2 February.[1]


  1. Williams, David R. (6 January 2005). "Tentatively Identified Missions and Launch Failures". NASA NSSDC. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
  2. Wade, Mark. "Luna E-6". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  3. Krebs, Gunter. "Luna E-6". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  4. McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  5. Wade, Mark. "Soyuz". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.

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