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Luna 1
Luna 1 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Luna 1, like three prior spacecraft in the Soviet Union's Ye-1 series, was intended to impact the Moon. The spacecraft carried instruments to study interplanetary matter, cosmic radiation and the magnetic fields of the Moon and Earth.

Accomplishments:The spacecraft was the first to escape Earth's gravity, but a guidance system malfunction caused it to miss the Moon. The spacecraft instead flew past the Moon at a distance of 6,400 km (3,976 miles). Contact with the spacecraft was lost 62 hours after launch.


Key Dates
2 Jan 1959:  Launch (16:41:21 UT)
3 Jan 1959:  Lunar Flyby (00:57 UT)
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Luna 1 Facts Luna 1 was the first spacecraft to escape Earth's gravity.

It was also the first spacecraft to enter orbit around the Sun.

The Soviet press dubbed this mission "Cosmic Rocket." It was retroactively named Luna 1 in 1963.

The spacecraft released a trail of natrium that was photographed by observers on Earth.

This mission was first to fly past the Moon and first to enter orbit around the Sun.
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Last Updated: 5 May 2011