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Luna Space Program

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Lunas, Cold War space race, USSR, space program

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Luna (space program), series of spacecraft that the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) launched toward the moon in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The USSR applied the name Luna to a variety of automated lunar probes. Early Luna probes were simple, in part because they were rushed into service to win quick victories in the Cold War space race with the United States. Later Luna robots surpassed the capabilities of the unpiloted moon probes developed by the United States. Like U.S. Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter spacecraft, the Lunas scouted the moon in preparation for planned visits by humans. The Soviet piloted moon program suffered technical setbacks, however, and was eventually cancelled.

Contributors

Portree, David S. F., B.A., M.S.

Freelance writer and space historian. Author of "Walking to Olympus: An EVA Chronology".



Article key phrases:

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Lunas, Cold War space race, USSR, space program, Surveyor, Ranger, humans, preparation, United States, capabilities, service

 
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