New Delhi: According to US space agency NASA’s Moon Fact Sheet, 40 percent lunar missions undertaken in the last 60 years have failed. This means that of the total 109 lunar missions that have been undertaken during this period, 61 were successful and 48 had failed.
Between 1958 and 2019, India, the US, the USSR (now Russia), Japan, the European Union, China and Israel have launched different lunar missions. These include orbiters, landers and flyby (orbiting the Moon, landing on the Moon and flying by the Moon).
India’s Chandrayaan crash lands
In the early hours of Saturday, ISRO’s plan to soft-land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on Moon’s surface did not go as per script. The lander lost communication with the mission control room shortly before landing on the moon.
Earlier this year, Israel’s lunar mission Beresheet, which it launched in February 2018, crash-landed in April.
Looking back at history
The first mission to the Moon planned by the US in August 1958 was unsuccessful. The first successful mission to the moon was executed by the USSR — Luna 1 — on January 4, 1959. It was also the first ‘Moon flyby’ mission. This was the USSR’s sixth mission that became successful.
Between August 1958 and November 1959, the US and the USSR launched 14 missions. Of these, only three — Luna 1, Luna 2 and Luna 3 — were successful.
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All were launched by the USSR.
The first lunar soft landing and first pictures from the moon’s surface came from Luna 9, which was launched by the USSR in January 1966. In May 1966, the US successfully launched a similar mission Surveyor-1. The Apollo 11 mission was the landmark mission through which human beings first stepped on the Moon’s surface. The three-crew mission was headed by Neil Armstrong.