The Moon: History of Lunar Missions

History of Lunar Missions

The Luna Spacecraft

The Luna Program was one of two lunar exploration programs conducted by the former Soviet Union. This was a very long-running program, with the first mission flying in Sep 12 1959.


The Ranger series was the first U.S. attempt to obtain close-up images of the Lunar surface. The Ranger spacecraft were designed to fly straight down towards the Moon and send images back until the moment of impact Jul28 1964.


The Surveyor probes were the first U.S. spacecraft to land safely on the Moon. May 30, 1966

The Lunar Orbiter

Five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched in 1966 through 1967 with the purpose of mapping the lunar surface before the Apollo landings. All five missions were successful. Aug 10, 1966


The Apollo program was designed to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth. Dec 21, 1968

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