Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union's Luna program, also known as Lunik 9. On February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth.
The automatic lunar station that achieved the soft landing weighed 99 kg. It was a hermetically sealed container with radio equipment, a program timing device, heat control systems, scientific apparatus, power sources, and a television system. The Luna 9 payload was carried to Earth orbit by an A-2-E vehicle and then conveyed toward the Moon by a fourth stage rocket that separated itself from the payload. Flight apparatus separated from the payload shortly before Luna 9 landed.
After landing in the Ocean of Storms on February 3, 1966, the four petals, which formed the spacecraft, opened outward and stabilized the spacecraft on the lunar surface. Spring-controlled antennas assumed operating positions, and the television camera rotating mirror system, which operated by revolving and tilting, began a photographic survey of the lunar environment. Seven radio sessions, totaling 8 hours and 5 minutes, were transmitted as were three series of TV pictures.
When assembled, the photographs provided a panoramic view of the nearby lunar surface. The pictures included views of nearby rocks and of the horizon 1.4 km away from the spacecraft.
- Launch date/time: 1966-01-31 at 11:45:00 UTC
- In-orbit dry mass: 1580 kg