Luna E-1 No.2


E-1 No.2
Mission typeLunar impactor
Mission durationFailed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass361 kilograms (796 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date11 October 1958 (1958-10-11)
RocketLuna 8K72 s/n B1-4
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5

Luna E-1 No.2,[1] sometimes identified by NASA as Luna 1958B,[2] was a Soviet spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure in 1958. It was a 361-kilogram (796 lb) Luna E-1 spacecraft, the second of four to be launched,[3] all of which were involved in launch failures.[4] It was intended to impact the surface of the Moon, and in doing so become the first man-made object to reach its surface.

The spacecraft was intended to release 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of sodium, in order to create a cloud of the metal which could be observed from Earth, allowing the spacecraft to be tracked.[5] Prior to the release of information about its mission, NASA correctly identified that it had been an attempted Lunar impact mission.[2]

Facing continued political pressure to beat the US, Sergei Korolev lost his temper and exclaimed "Do you think only American rockets explode!?" Once again, he knew that the Pioneer 1 probe was set for launch on October 11, but again decided to wait. Just like with the attempt in August, the US Moon shot failed to attain orbit.

Luna E-1 No.2 was launched on 11 October 1958 atop a Luna 8K72 carrier rocket,[4] flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.[1] One hundred and four seconds after launch, longitudinal resonance within the rocket's strap-on booster rockets caused the vehicle to disintegrate.[4] This was the same problem which had caused the loss of Luna E-1 No.1 three weeks earlier.[4]


  1. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b Williams, David R. (6 January 2005). "Tentatively Identified Missions and Launch Failures". NASA NSSDC. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Luna E-1". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Wade, Mark. "Soyuz". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  5. ^ Wade, Mark. "Luna E-1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.