Model of Luna 1 spacecraft

Model of Luna 1 spacecraft

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Model of the Luna 1 spacecraft. Luna 1, an unmanned probe, was the first spacecraft of the Soviet Luna programme. It was the first spacecraft to attain escape velocity from the Earth, as well as the first to pass close to the Moon, passing within 6000 kilometres of the surface. Luna 1 was intended to impact the Moon, but missed and became the first spacecraft to enter an independent orbit around the Sun. Luna 1, which was launched on 2 January 1959, had five antennae (long rods). Discoveries made by Luna 1 include the absence of a magnetic field for the Moon, the presence of the solar wind, and details of the Earth's radiation belts.

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