On 22nd July 2019, India successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 to explore the South Polar region of the Moon. India will be the first country to explore that side of the Moon. But it’s not just India that has attempted to land on the Moon. The US, China and the Soviet Union have also launched space missions in the past to explore the Moon’s surface. On that note, here is a list of all the space missions that have been carried out by these 3 countries with an intention of exploring the surface of the Moon.
Let’s take a look at all the missions launched by the US on the moon:
1. Surveyor 1 was NASA’s first lunar soft-lander in the uncrewed Surveyor program that was launched on May 30, 1966.
2. Surveyor 3 was the third lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program that was launched on April 17, 1967.
3. Surveyor 5 was the fifth lunar lander of the American uncrewed Surveyor program that was launched on September 8, 1967 from Cape Canaveral.
4. Surveyor 6 was launched on November 7, 1967 and it landed in the Sinus Medii, in the center of the Moon’s visible hemisphere.
5. Surveyor 7 was the last lunar lander of the American uncrewed Surveyor program that was launched on January 7, 1968.
6. Apollo 11 was launched from Cape Kennedy on 16th July, 1969 and it was first space flight that landed humans on the Moon.
7. Apollo 12 was launched on November 14, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11.
8. Apollo 14 was launched on 31st January 1971 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida with 3 crew members on board.
9. Apollo 15 was launched on 26th July 1971 from NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
10. Apollo 16 was launched on 16th April 1972 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
11. Apollo 17 was launched on 7th December 1972 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Here’s a list of space missions that were launched by the Soviet Union on the Moon.
1. Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union’s Luna programme that was launched on 3rd February 1966.
It became the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.
2. Luna 13 was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program that was launched on 21st December 1966.
3. Luna 16, also known as Lunnik 16, was an unmanned space mission that was part of the Soviet Luna program.
4. Luna 17, also known as Lunik 17, was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program.
5. Luna 20 was the second of three successful Soviet lunar sample return missions.
6. Luna 21 was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program that was launched on 8th January 1973.
7. Luna 23 was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program developed by the Soviet Union that was launched on 28th October 1974.
8. Luna 24 was an robotic probe of the Soviet Union’s Luna programme that was also the last of the Luna series of spacecraft.
And lastly, here’s a list of all the space missions that were launched by China:
1. Chang’e 3 is an unmanned lunar exploration mission operated by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) that was launched on December 2013.
2. Chang’e 4 is a robotic spacecraft mission that was launched on 7th May 2018 as part of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.
This data really shows the improvement in technology and the advancement in science. We hope to learn more about the Moon and it’s surface in the near future.