Kukarkin and Luna 1 launch, 1959

Kukarkin and Luna 1 launch, 1959

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Caption: Kukarkin and Luna 1 launch. Boris Vasilyevich Kukarkin (1909-1977), Soviet astrophysicist, displaying a photograph at the USSR Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Russia, during a news conference on 3 January 1959, on the successful launch of the first Soviet lunar craft (Luna 1) which flew past the Moon and entered a heliocentric orbit. Kukarkin, who worked for most of his career at Moscow University, specialised in the study of variable stars and globular clusters. He founded the journal Peremennye Zvezdy, and was vice-president of the International Astronomical Union. His awards include the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.

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