Luna 12
Luna-11 12.jpg
Luna 12
Mission typeLunar orbiter
COSPAR ID1966-094A
SATCAT no.02508
Mission duration89 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeE-6LF
ManufacturerGSMZ Lavochkin
Launch mass1,620 kilograms (3,570 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date22 October 1966, 08:38:00 (1966-10-22UTC08:38Z) UTC
RocketMolniya-M 8K78M
Launch siteBaikonur 31/6
End of mission
Last contact19 January 1967 (1967-01-20)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Semi-major axis2,404.5 kilometres (1,494.1 mi)
Periselene altitude1,871 kilometres (1,163 mi)
Aposelene altitude2,938 kilometres (1,826 mi)
Inclination10 degrees
Period205 minutes
Lunar orbiter
Orbital insertion25 October 1966, 20:45 UTC

Luna 12 (E-6LF series) was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program, also called Lunik 12.


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 25 October 1966 and entered a 133 x 1,200-kilometer orbit. The Soviet press released the first photos taken of the surface on 29 October—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.

Preceded by
Luna 11
Luna programme Succeeded by
Luna 13

External links

  • Zarya - Luna programme chronology