SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Model of the Luna 3 spacecraft. This Soviet unmanned spacecraft was launched on 4 October 1959. It was the first spacecraft to return pictures of the previously unseen far side of the Moon. It obtained 29 pictures as its trajectory took it past the Moon on 7 October 1959. Eleven days later, on 18 October 1959, as its orbit brought it back towards Earth, it successfully transmitted around 17 of its pictures. Contact with the spacecraft was lost on 22 October 1959.
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