Luna 1

Luna 1, also known as Mechta (Russian: Мечта [mʲɪt͡ɕˈta], lit.: Dream),[2] E-1 No.4 and First Lunar Rover ,[3] was the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Earth's Moon, and the first spacecraft to be placed in heliocentric orbit. Intended as an impactor, Luna 1 was launched as part of the Soviet Luna programme in 1959, however due to an incorrectly timed upper stage burn during its launch, it missed the Moon, in the process becoming the first spacecraft to leave geocentric orbit.

While traveling through the outer Van Allen radiation belt, the spacecraft's scintillator made observations indicating that a small number of high-energy particles exist in the outer belt. The measurements obtained during this mission provided new data on the Earth's radiation belt and outer space. The Moon was found to have no detectable magnetic field. The first-ever direct observations and measurements of the solar wind,[3][4][5] a strong flow of ionized plasma emanating from the Sun and streaming through interplanetary space, were performed. That ionized plasma concentration was measured to be some 700 particles per cm3 at altitudes 20–25 thousand km and 300 to 400 particles per cm3 at altitudes 100–150,000 km.[6] The spacecraft also marked the first instance of radio communication at the half-million-kilometer distance.

A malfunction in the ground-based control system caused an error in the rocket's burntime, and the spacecraft missed the target and flew by the Moon at a distance of 5,900 km at the closest point. Luna 1 then became the first man-made object to reach heliocentric orbit and was then dubbed a "new planet" and renamed Mechta (Dream).[7] Luna 1 was also referred to as the "First Cosmic Rocket", in reference to its achievement of escape velocity.

RIAN archive 510848 Interplanetary station Luna 1 - blacked
A museum replica
Mission typeLunar impactor
OperatorSoviet Union
Harvard designation1959 Mu 1
COSPAR ID1959-012A
SATCAT no.112
Mission duration34 hours (launch to closest approach)
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass361 kilograms (796 lb)
Start of mission
Launch dateJanuary 2, 1959 16:41:21 UTC
RocketLuna 8K72
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHeliocentric
Semi-major axis1.146 AU
Perihelion0.9766 AU
Aphelion1.315 AU
Inclination0.01 degrees[1]
Period450 days
Epoch1 January 1959, 19:00:00 UTC[1]
Lunar flyby (failed impact)
Closest approach4 January 1959
Distance5,995 kilometres (3,725 mi)


Luna 1 contained radio equipment including a tracking transmitter and telemetry system, and five instruments to study the Moon and interplanetary space; including a magnetometer, Geiger counter, scintillation counter, and micrometeorite detector.

Luna 1 was designed to impact the Moon, delivering two metallic pennants with the Soviet coat of arms that were included into its package. This mission was eventually accomplished by Luna 2.


Luna 1 was launched at 16:41 GMT (22:41 local time) on 2 January 1959 from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome by a Luna 8K72 rocket. Luna 1 became the first man-made object to reach the escape velocity of the Earth, along with its carrier rocket's 1,472-kilogram (3,245 lb) upper stage, which it separated from after achieving heliocentric orbit.

Due to a programming error, the duration of the upper stage's burn was incorrect, and consequently Luna 1 failed to impact the Moon. The spacecraft passed within 5,995 kilometres (3,725 mi) of the Moon's surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. It remains in orbit around the Sun, between the orbits of Earth and Mars.[8]

Sodium release experiment

At 00:56:20 UTC on 3 January, at a distance of 119,500 kilometres (74,300 mi) from Earth,[6] 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft, forming a cloud behind it to serve as an artificial comet. This glowing orange trail of gas, visible over the Indian Ocean with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star for a few minutes, was photographed by Mstislav Gnevyshev at the Mountain Station of the Main Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR near Kislovodsk.[6] It served as an experiment on the behavior of gas in outer space.

A wired press photograph entitled "Rockets / Russian rocket sent into outer space January 1959 (first rocket fired at moon)" describes how the sodium gas cloud was photographed by Morris Alan, the following text is taken verbatim from the reverse of a press photograph stamped Kemsley Newspapers 6 Jan 1959.

"The Russian rocket on its way to the moon. Mr Morris Alan, 34 year old freelance photographer, who was the first man to photograph the original Russian Sputnik, early this morning took this photograph of the moon rocket. He and his three assistants saw the rocket from Kingscat Hill, near Dunfermline, Firthshire, just after 1 AM and held it in view for almost eight minutes. "It appeared like a cloud on the horizon near the constellation Virgo", he said. "We photographed it with three cameras and with a movie camera. It's emerged in the sky just over the horizon near Edinburgh, but it was a second or two before we realised what we had". The picture shows the lights of Edinburgh in the foreground. The rocket is seen as an illuminated cloud top centre."


Luna 1 was meant to crash on the Moon; however, due to a malfunction of the ground control system, the probe missed its target by 5,995 kilometers. Despite this, Luna 1 still managed to collect vital information to assist in the understanding of the universe.[9] Its goal to crash on the Moon was subsequently achieved by Luna 2 on September 13, 1959.

See also

  • Pioneer 4 – a similar NASA mission launched 3 March 1959, two months after Luna 1.


  1. ^ a b "NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Trajectory Details". Archived from the original on 2017-03-16. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  2. ^ David Darling, The complete book of spaceflight: from Apollo 1 to zero gravity. John Wiley and Sons, 2003, p. 244. ISBN 0-471-05649-9
  3. ^ a b Brian Harvey, Russian planetary exploration: history, development, legacy, prospects. Springer, 2007, p.26. ISBN 0-387-46343-7
  4. ^ David Darling, Internet Encyclopedia of Science.
  5. ^ "Luna 1". NASA National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  6. ^ a b c "Soviet Space Rocket". Yearbook of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian). Moscow: Sovetskaya Enciklopediya. 1959. ISSN 0523-9613. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18.
  7. ^ Cormack, Lesley B. (15 March 2012). A History of Science in Society: From Philosophy to Utility (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press. p. 342. ISBN 978-1-4426-0446-9. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Luna 1".
  9. ^

External links

1959 in the Soviet Union

The following lists events that happened during 1959 in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

1995 European Tour

The 1995 European Tour was the 24th official season of golf tournaments known as the PGA European Tour.The Order of Merit was won by Scotland's Colin Montgomerie.

Eclipse (Judge Dredd novel)

Eclipse is an original novel written by James Swallow and based on the long-running British science fiction comic strip Judge Dredd. It is Swallow's first Judge Dredd novel.

Heliocentric orbit

A heliocentric orbit (also called circumsolar orbit) is an orbit around the barycenter of the Solar System, which is usually located within or very near the surface of the Sun. All planets, comets, and asteroids in the Solar System, and the Sun itself are in such orbits, as are many artificial probes and pieces of debris. The moons of planets in the Solar System, by contrast, are not in heliocentric orbits, as they orbit their respective planet (although the Moon has a convex orbit around the Sun).

The barycenter of the Solar System, while always very near the Sun, moves through space as time passes, depending on where other large bodies in the Solar System, such as Jupiter and other large gas planets, are located at that time. A similar phenomenon allows the detection of exoplanets by way of the radial-velocity method.

The helio- prefix is derived from the Greek word "ἥλιος", meaning "Sun", and also Helios, the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology.The first spacecraft to be put in a heliocentric orbit was Luna 1 in 1959. An incorrectly timed upper-stage burn caused it to miss its planned impact on the Moon.

Judge Dredd

Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra. He first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD (1977), a weekly anthology comic magazine. He is the magazine's longest-running character. He also appears in a number of movie and video game adaptations.

Joseph Dredd is a law enforcement and judicial officer in the dystopian future city of Mega-City One, which covers most of the east coast of North America. He is a "street judge", empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals.

In Great Britain, the character of Dredd and his name are sometimes invoked in discussions of police states, authoritarianism, and the rule of law.Judge Dredd made his live action debut in 1995 in Judge Dredd, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Later he was portrayed by Karl Urban in the 2012 adaptation Dredd.

Luna (rocket)

The Luna 8K72 vehicles were carrier rockets used by the Soviet Union for nine space probe launch attempts in the Luna programme between 23 September 1958 and 16 April 1960. Like many other Soviet launchers of that era the Luna 8K72 vehicles were derived from the R-7 Semyorka design (a variation of the Vostok), part of the R-7 (rocket family), which is also the basis for the modern Soyuz rocket.

The first flight of a Luna 8K72 (September 1958), which was to launch the Luna E-1 No.1 probe, ended 92 seconds after launch when the rocket broke up from longitudinal vibration (a.k.a. POGO), causing the strap-ons to separate from the vehicle, which then crashed downrange.The second flight of a Luna 8K72 (October 1958), which was to launch the Luna E-1 No.2 probe, ended 104 seconds after launch when the rocket again disintegrated from vibration.

The third flight of a Luna 8K72 (December 1958), which was to launch the Luna E-1 No.3 probe, ended 245 seconds after launch when the Blok A core stage shut down from loss of engine lubricant.

The resonant vibration problem suffered by the 8K72 booster was the cause of a major argument between the Korolev and Glushko design bureaus over the cause and solution to it. It was believed that the vibrations developed as a consequence of adding the Blok E upper stage to the R-7, shifting its center of mass.

Luna 2

Luna 2 (E-1A series) or Lunik 2 was the second of the Soviet Union's Luna programme spacecraft launched to the Moon. It was the first spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon, and the first man-made object to land on another celestial body. On September 14, 1959, it hit the Moon's surface east of Mare Imbrium near the craters Aristides, Archimedes, and Autolycus.

Luna programme

The Luna programme (from the Russian word Луна "Luna" meaning "Lunar" or "Moon"), occasionally called Lunik or Lunnik by western media, was a series of robotic spacecraft missions sent to the Moon by the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1976. Fifteen were successful, each designed as either an orbiter or lander, and accomplished many firsts in space exploration. They also performed many experiments, studying the Moon's chemical composition, gravity, temperature, and radiation.

Twenty-four spacecraft were formally given the Luna designation, although more were launched. Those that failed to reach orbit were not publicly acknowledged at the time, and not assigned a Luna number. Those that failed in low Earth orbit were usually given Cosmos designations. The estimated cost of the Luna programme was about $4.5 billion.

Mare Desiderii

Mare Desiderii ("Sea of Dreams") was an area of the Moon named after Luna 3 returned the first pictures of the far side. This name is derived from the Russian Море Мечты, Mechta ("Dream") being the original name for the Luna 1 spacecraft.

This feature was later found to be composed of a smaller mare, Mare Ingenii (Sea of Ingenuity or Cleverness), and other dark craters. Today the IAU does not recognise the name Mare Desiderii.

Mariner 2

Mariner 2 (Mariner-Venus 1962), an American space probe to Venus, was the first robotic space probe to conduct a successful planetary encounter. The first successful spacecraft in the NASA Mariner program, it was a simplified version of the Block I spacecraft of the Ranger program and an exact copy of Mariner 1. The missions of Mariner 1 and 2 spacecraft are together sometimes known as the Mariner R missions. Original plans called for the probes to be launched on the Atlas-Centaur, but serious developmental problems with that vehicle forced a switch to the much smaller Agena B stage. As such, the design of the Mariner R vehicles was greatly simplified. Far less instrumentation was carried than on the Soviet Venera probes of this period, including no TV camera as the Atlas-Agena B had only half as much lift capacity as the Soviet 8K78 booster. The Mariner 2 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral on August 27, 1962 and passed as close as 34,773 kilometers (21,607 mi) to Venus on December 14, 1962.The Mariner probe consisted of a 100 cm (39.4 in) diameter hexagonal bus, to which solar panels, instrument booms, and antennas were attached. The scientific instruments on board the Mariner spacecraft were two radiometers (one each for the microwave and infrared portions of the spectrum), a micrometeorite sensor, a solar plasma sensor, a charged particle sensor, and a magnetometer. These instruments were designed to measure the temperature distribution on the surface of Venus, as well as making basic measurements of Venus' atmosphere.

The primary mission was to receive communications from the spacecraft in the vicinity of Venus and to perform radiometric temperature measurements of the planet. A second objective was to measure the interplanetary magnetic field and charged particle environment.En route to Venus, Mariner 2 measured the solar wind, a constant stream of charged particles flowing outwards from the Sun, confirming the measurements by Luna 1 in 1959. It also measured interplanetary dust, which turned out to be scarcer than predicted. In addition, Mariner 2 detected high-energy charged particles coming from the Sun, including several brief solar flares, as well as cosmic rays from outside the Solar System. As it flew by Venus on December 14, 1962, Mariner 2 scanned the planet with its pair of radiometers, revealing that Venus has cool clouds and an extremely hot surface.

Megacities in Judge Dredd

Megacities in the Judge Dredd comics are a fictional exaggeration of the real megacity concept: instead of just being a large conurbation, they cover most of their original country and have replaced nations as the dominant political entity. The most commonly seen megacity is Mega-City One. In the strip, these cities are all that remains of their original countries after the Atomic Wars of 2070, and are mostly dictatorships run by the Judges.

The exact number, location, nature, and even name of megacities is dependent on the writer of any given Dredd strip. For the Shamballa strip in prog 701, Alan Grant told artist Arthur Ranson that he could make up a number of cities and features for a map: he told Ranson “probably nobody will ever bother with it again”.

Mikhail Tikhonravov

Mikhail Klavdievich Tikhonravov (July 29, 1900 – March 3, 1974) was a Soviet aerospace engineer and scientist who was a pioneer of spacecraft design and rocketry.

Mikhail Tikhonravov was born in Vladimir, Russia. Attended the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy from 1922 to 1925, where he was exposed to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's ideas of spaceflight. After graduation and until 1931 worked in several aircraft industries and was engaged in developing gliders. From 1931 and on, devoted himself to the development of the field of rocketry. In 1932, he joined Group for the Study of Reactive Motion, as one of the four brigade leaders. His brigade built the GIRD-09 rocket, fueled by liquid oxygen and jellied gasoline, and launched on August 17, 1933.

From 1938 Tikhonravov researched rocket engines with liquid fuel and developed rockets for the purpose of upper atmosphere layers’ research. In the end of the 1930s, the development of rockets with liquid fuel was stopped and Tikhonravov concentrated on the development of the projectiles of the weapon system Katyusha rocket launcher.

Tikhonravov remained in GIRD as it evolved into RNII, the jet propulsion institute, and then NII-1. In 1946, he became deputy chief of NII-4 in the Academy of Artillery Science and developed Project VR-190. Tikhonravov in 1948 proposed a type of multistage rocket in which the engines would work in parallel (packet) in order to achieve a greater flight range. His announcement was met with ridicule and skepticism by his scientific colleagues because at that time, it was believed that 1000 km was the absolute limit for rocket range. In NII-4 he led a team of researchers that did important studies on packet rockets, satellite orbital motion, optimal pitch control programs for launching into orbit, reentry trajectories and heat shielding. This team designed Sputnik-3, Luna-1, Luna-3, Luna-4 and the early Venus and Mars probes. In 1956, Sergey Korolev had Tikhonravov and his team transferred into his bureau, OKB-1.

After the launch of Sputnik-1 and a satellite with an animal on board, Tikhonravov (along with a number of other scientists) received the Lenin award (1957).

The classically educated Tikhonravov has been credited for coining and popularizing the term cosmonaut ("space traveller"), to be distinct from the English astronaut.Tikhonravov Crater on Mars is named after Mikhail Tikhonravov.

Moon landing

A Moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned (robotic) missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission, on 13 September 1959.The United States' Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon, on 20 July 1969. There have been six manned U.S. landings (between 1969 and 1972) and numerous unmanned landings, with no soft landings happening from 22 August 1976 until 14 December 2013.

To date, the United States is the only country to have successfully conducted manned missions to the Moon, with the last departing the lunar surface in December 1972.

Pan-Africa (comics)

In the Judge Dredd comic book series, Pan-Africa is what remains of Africa following the Atom Wars, and is the home of several Megacities. A strip, Pan-African Judges by Paul Cornell and Siku, fleshed out most of its detail.

Pioneer 4

Pioneer 4 was an American spin-stabilized unmanned spacecraft launched as part of the Pioneer program on a lunar flyby trajectory and into a heliocentric orbit making it the first probe of the United States to escape from the Earth's gravity. It carried a payload similar to Pioneer 3: a lunar radiation environment experiment using a Geiger–Müller tube detector and a lunar photography experiment. It passed within 58,983 km of the Moon's surface. However, Pioneer 4 did not come close enough to trigger its photoelectric sensor. The spacecraft was still in solar orbit as of 1969. It was the only successful lunar probe launched by the U.S. in 12 attempts between 1958–63; only in 1964 would Ranger 7 surpass its success by accomplishing all of its mission objectives.

After the Soviet Luna 1 probe conducted the first successful flyby of the Moon on January 3, 1959, the pressure felt by the US to succeed with a lunar mission was enormous, especially since American mission failures were entirely public while the Soviet failures were kept a secret.

Soviet space program

The Soviet space program (Russian: Космическая программа СССР, Kosmicheskaya programma SSSR) comprised several of the rocket and space exploration programs conducted by the Soviet Union (USSR) from the 1930s until its collapse in 1991. Over its sixty-year history, this primarily classified military program was responsible for a number of pioneering accomplishments in space flight, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile (R-7), first satellite (Sputnik 1), first animal in Earth orbit (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1), first woman in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6), first spacewalk (cosmonaut Alexey Leonov on Voskhod 2), first Moon impact (Luna 2), first image of the far side of the moon (Luna 3) and unmanned lunar soft landing (Luna 9), first space rover (Lunokhod 1), first sample of lunar soil automatically extracted and brought to Earth (Luna 16), and first space station (Salyut 1). Further notable records included the first interplanetary probes: Venera 1 and Mars 1 to fly by Venus and Mars, respectively, Venera 3 and Mars 2 to impact the respective planet surface, and Venera 7 and Mars 3 to make soft landings on these planets.

The rocket and space program of the USSR, initially boosted by the assistance of captured scientists from the advanced German rocket program, was performed mainly by Soviet engineers and scientists after 1955, and was based on some unique Soviet and Imperial Russian theoretical developments, many derived by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, sometimes known as the father of theoretical astronautics. Sergey Korolev (also transliterated as Korolyov) was the head of the principal design group; his official title was "chief designer" (a standard title for similar positions in the USSR). Unlike its American competitor in the "Space Race", which had NASA as a single coordinating agency, the USSR's program was split among several competing design bureaus led by Korolev, Mikhail Yangel, Valentin Glushko, and Vladimir Chelomei.

Because of the program's classified status, and for propaganda value, announcements of the outcomes of missions were delayed until success was certain, and failures were sometimes kept secret. Ultimately, as a result of Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost in the 1980s, many facts about the space program were declassified. Notable setbacks included the deaths of Korolev, Vladimir Komarov (in the Soyuz 1 crash), and Yuri Gagarin (on a routine fighter jet mission) between 1966 and 1968, and development failure of the huge N-1 rocket intended to power a manned lunar landing, which exploded shortly after lift-off on four unmanned tests.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine inherited the program. Russia created the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, now known as the Roscosmos State Corporation, while Ukraine created the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU).

Swimming at the 2000 Summer Olympics – Women's 200 metre freestyle

The women's 200-metre freestyle event at the 2000 Summer Olympics took place on 18–19 September at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre in Sydney.Australia's overwhelming favorite Susie O'Neill, dubbed as Madame Butterfly, gave the home crowd a further reason to celebrate, as she claimed the gold medal in the event. Rocketed to the boisterous chants of "Susie, Susie" by her swimming fans, O'Neill held off a challenge from Slovakia's Martina Moravcová to strengthen her lead on the final lap before hitting the wall first in 1:58.24. Moravcova trailed behind by a small fraction of a second to capture another silver at these Games in 1:58.32, while Costa Rica's Claudia Poll, defending Olympic champion, added a second bronze to her hardware from the 400 m freestyle, in a sterling time of 1:58.81.Russia's Nadezhda Chemezova and Germany's Kerstin Kielgass tied for fourth place in a matching time of 1:58.86, finishing off the podium by just five-hundredths of a second (0.05). Belarus' Natalya Baranovskaya pulled off a sixth-place finish in a national record of 1:59.28, while Romania's Camelia Potec (1:59.46) and China's Wang Luna (1:59.55) closed out the field.Notable swimmers failed to reach the top 8 final, featuring world-record holder Franziska van Almsick, who faded shortly on the final lap and finished eleventh in the semi-finals; South Africa's Helene Muller, who posted a second-fastest prelims time (1:59.89) earlier but ended up only in ninth; and American duo Lindsay Benko and Rada Owen, both of whom earned a twelfth and a sixteenth spot, respectively.Shortly after the Games, O'Neill announced her retirement from swimming, and was elected to the IOC Athletes' Commission, along with ten other athletes.

Timeline of space exploration

This is for a timeline of space exploration including notable achievements and first accomplishments or major events in humanity's exploration of outer space.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
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