Date: 31 Jan 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 on the moon. After landing in the Ocean of Storms on 3 February 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 rotatable 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.
Credit: NSSDC Photo Gallery