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460 historic spins. 50 years ago the first satellite traveled towards the Moon

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Exactly 50 years ago, on March 31st, carrier rocket “Molniya-M” was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome – which enabled the flight of the first Moon-bound satellite. On April 3rd 1966, the “Luna-10” station entered the Moon’s orbit for the first time in history. Nikolay Rastvortsev with more details.

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 — The camera was positioned in such box, signals were sent and it started filming and then broadcasted the shots back to Earth

460 spins around the Moon, 219 communication broadcasts. World’s first ever Lunar satellite circled the Moon for almost two months, making Americans jealous, while transmitting data about the near-Lunar space.

Sergey Orlov, head of V.P. Glushko rocket and space Museum: “How significant the first Lunar satellite was? It provided the extensive and very interesting research of the subject never studied before – the Moon’s magnetic field and radiation around the planet”

A unique camera was installed aboard the Soviet interplanetary station – the first ever fitted for a 360 view of the surface. It also transmitted a high-quality signal – the optical-mechanical system allowed to distinguish 1-millimeter-sized objects from the distance of 2 meters. It was later used to create a panoramic image of Venus and Mars

Vera Zelenova, director of the TV museum: “It took a long time for the Americans to invent something like that. Rumors have it that they wanted to solve this problem by putting cameras which looked into different directions onto an axis. Our solution was installing a rotating mirror inside, so the camera produced a panoramic image”

By the way, scientific data aside, the tune of “Internazional” was transmitted from space via radio – right during the 23rd Communist Party of the Soviet Union Convention. Although, according to one version, the “Luna-10” became the Moon’s satellite inadvertently – it just failed to land. For the lack of solar batteries, it did manage to reach the surface by May 29th, when there was no energy left on board. 10 years on, in 1976, the final launch of “Luna-24” took place. It brought soil samples back to Earth. Some specialists believe that having not found any natural resources on the moon, the mankind lost interest to Earth’s natural satellite.  

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