60 Years Ago Today: The First-Ever Successful Moon Mission

On January 2, 1959, the Soviet interplanetary station Luna 1 failed to reach the Moon due to a mission control error — but it did carry out onboard experiments that resulted in some important discoveries. 

There were several other attempts at launching interplanetary stations throughout the summer of 1959 — and finally, on September 12, at 09:39:42 Moscow time (UTC +3), the Luna-2 spacecraft, dubbed in print as the 'second Soviet space rocket', launched from Baikonur. It performed its pioneering Moon landing at midnight on September 14, 1959, landing in the region of Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains), and in the proximity of three craters: Autolycus, Archimedes, and Aristillus.

Helen Borodina