|Mission type||Lunar orbiter|
|Mission duration||89 days|
|Launch mass||1,620 kilograms (3,570 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||October 22, 1966, 08:38:00UTC|
|Launch site||Baikonur 31/6|
|End of mission|
|Last contact||January 19, 1967|
|Semi-major axis||2,404.5 kilometres (1,494.1 mi)|
|Periselene altitude||1,871 kilometres (1,163 mi)|
|Aposelene altitude||2,938 kilometres (1,826 mi)|
|Orbital insertion||October 25, 1966, 20:45 UTC|
Luna 12 was launched towards the Moon from an Earth-orbiting platform and achieved lunar orbit on October 25, 1966. The spacecraft was equipped with a television system that obtained and transmitted photographs of the lunar surface. The photographs contained 1100 scan lines with a maximum resolution of 14.9-19.8 m. Pictures of the lunar surface were returned on October 27, 1966. The number of photographs is not known. Radio transmissions from Luna 12 ceased on January 19, 1967, after 602 lunar orbits and 302 radio transmissions.
Luna 12 was launched to complete the mission that Luna 11 had failed to accomplish—take high-resolution photos of the Moon's surface from lunar orbit. Luna 12 reached the Moon on October 25, 1966 and entered a 133 x 1,200-kilometer orbit. The Soviet press released the first photos taken of the surface on October 29—pictures that showed the Sea of Rains and the Aristarchus crater. Resolution was as high as 15 to 20 meters. Film was developed, fixed, dried automatically, and scanned for transmission to Earth. No further photos were ever released. After completing its main imaging mission, Luna 12 was put into a spin-stabilized roll to carry out its scientific mission, which was successfully fulfilled.
Luna 12 was the first soviet probe where deliberate steps were taken to prevent interception of its signals by Jodrell Bank Observatory. When the probe was in the field of view of the observatory it began switch its signals between two different frequencies, something Jodrell Bank was not able to follow.
|Luna programme||Succeeded by|