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Zond 7
Zond L1 drawing.svg
Zond 7
NamesSoyuz 7K-L1 s/n 11
Mission typeLunar flyby
Spacecraft test
COSPAR ID1969-067A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.04062
Mission duration6 days, 18 hours, & 25 minutes[1]
Spacecraft properties
BusSoyuz 7K-L1
Launch mass5,375 kilograms (11,850 lb)[2]
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust 7, 1969, 23:48:06 UTC[2]
RocketProton-K D
Launch siteBaikonur 81/23
End of mission
DisposalSoft landing and recovery
Recovered bySoviet Union
Landing dateAugust 14, 1969 (1969-08-14) at 20:13 UTC
Landing site50 km south of Kustanai, Kazakhstan, USSR[3]
Flyby of Moon
Closest approachAugust 11, 1969
Distance1,984.6 km (1,233.2 mi)
← Zond 6
Zond 8 →

Zond 7, a formal member of the Soviet Zond program and unpiloted version of Soyuz 7K-L1 crewed Moon-flyby spacecraft, the first truly successful test of L1, was launched towards the Moon on a Proton-K D rocket on August 7, 1969, on a mission of further studies of the Moon and circumlunar space, to obtain color photography of Earth and the Moon from varying distances, and to flight test the spacecraft systems. Earth photos were obtained on August 9, 1969. On August 11, 1969, the spacecraft flew past the Moon at a distance of 1984.6 km and conducted two picture taking sessions. On its way back from the moon the spacecraft tested its radio systems by transmitting recorded voices.[4] Zond 7 reentered Earth's atmosphere on August 14, 1969, and achieved a soft landing in a preset region south of Kustanai, Kazakhstan. On its trip the craft carried 4 turtles.[4] A human-like tissue-equivalent phantom for radiation measurements has been placed aboard. The phantom was equipped with 20 channels for radiation detectors (thermoluminescent glasses and nuclear photoemulsions) distributed along the whole body for measurement of doses in critical organs. The doses accumulated during the flight through the radiation belts and around the Moon were between 0.2 and 0.7 rad in different points at the depth of 3 g/cm2 from the body surface.[5]

Like other Zond circumlunar craft, Zond 7 used a relatively uncommon technique called skip reentry to shed velocity upon returning to Earth. Of all circumlunar Soviet Zond craft launches, Zond 7 would have been the first to make a safe flight for a cosmonaut had it been crewed.

The return capsule is on display at the Dmitrov Facility of Bauman University in Orevo, Russia.



  1. ^ "Beyond Earth: A Chronicle of Deep Space Exploration". 2018-09-20.
  2. ^ a b Siddiqi, Asif (2018). Beyond Earth: A Chronicle of Deep Space Exploration, 1958–2016 (PDF) (second ed.). NASA History Program Office.
  3. ^ "In Depth | Zond 7". NASA Solar System Exploration. Archived from the original on 2019-07-29. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  4. ^ a b Harvey, Brian (2007). Soviet and Russian Lunar Exploration. Springer-Praxis. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-0387218960.
  5. ^ Smirennyi L. N., Litvinova E. G., Khortsev A. V. (1973). "Study of Spatial Distribution of Tissue Doses with the Aid of a Phantom-mannequin" (PDF). Proceedings of the Third International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association; Washington, DC, September 9–14, 1973. Oak Ridge, Tennessee: U. S. ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION. pp. 648–653. CONF 730907 P1.((cite conference)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
Preceded by
Zond 6
Zond program (circumlunar) Succeeded by
Zond 8