Lunokhod 1 – The first wheeled craft to land on any celestial body is being exhibited in Moscow

The first of two robotic lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of its Lunokhod program. The Luna 17 spacecraft carried Lunokhod 1 to the Moon in 1970. It was the first remote-controlled robot “rover” to freely move across the surface of an astronomical object beyond the Earth.

The Soviet rover Lunokhod 0 was intended to be the first roving remote-controlled robot on the Moon, but crashed during a failed start of the launcher 19 February 1969.

Replica of the moon rover Lunokhod 1 at Memorial Museum of Astronautics in Moscow / Image source

The lunar vehicle with eight independent wheels was 2.3 meters long. Lunokhod 1 was equipped with a cone-shaped antenna, a highly directional helical antenna, four television cameras, and special extendable devices to test the lunar soil for soil density and mechanical properties.

Lunokhod 1 operated on the lunar surface for eleven lunar days (321 Earth days) and traversed a total distance of 10.54 km. Controllers finished the last communications session with Lunokhod 1 on September 14, 1971. Attempts to re-establish contact were finally discontinued and the operations of Lunokhod 1 officially ceased on October 4, 1971.

Museum of Cosmonautics dedicated to space exploration / Image source

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us