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Luna 1 mission
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Fifty years ago, on January 2, 1959, Luna 1 started its mission to become the first ever human-made object to exceed the escape velocity of the Earth. The pioneering flight helped to secure further Russian history, with its historic 1961 space flight of Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space.
The 361.0-kilogram  Luna 1 - also known as Lunik (Luna) and Mechta (Dream) in Russian and designated as 00112 - was the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.

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L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Luna missions
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In August 1976, four years after the final Apollo mission, a 6-tonne spacecraft landed on the moon in the Mare Crisium. Over the course of a single day, it sent back spectacular pictures of the lunar surface, gathered rock samples and then blasted off for the journey home. Luna 24 was an uncrewed Russian sample-return mission, the last of only three to make it safely home.
In the bizarre logic of cold war politics, the Luna missions were seen as a defeat for Russia in the battle to reach the moon because they were mere robots. In reality, Luna was a stupendous technical achievement.

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