​10 missions before Chandrayaan-3 that define mankind’s quest to explore the moon

Aug 25, 2023

By: Anagh Pal

Chandrayaan 3 creates history

It was a proud moment for Indians with Chandrayaan-3 becoming the first man-made object to land on the south pole of the lunar surface. We look at important moon missions which led to this moment

Credit: ISRO

Apollo 11 (1969)

All of us know about this one! Led by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, the mission achieved a historic lunar landing, with Armstrong and Aldrin becoming the first humans to walk on the Moon.

Credit: NASA

​Previous moon missions

Before the historic mission, many previous missions were launched both by Soviet Russia and the US. Learnings from these missions helped both these countries in their successive missions.

Credit: NASA

​Luna 2 (1959)

Launched on September 12, 1959, this unmanned Soviet probe, a spherical spacecraft, achieved the historic feat of being the first human-made object to land on the earth’s only satellite.

Credit: NASA

Luna 10 (1966)

A Soviet mission in 1966 achieved the first human-made object to orbit a celestial body. Launched March 31, it circled the moon 460 times over two months, transmitting data.

Credit: NASA

​Surveyor 1 (1969)

In June 1966, the United States replicated the Soviet achievement four months prior by skillfully landing a probe on the moon. During a six-week operation, Surveyor 1 captured over 11,100 lunar surface images.

Credit: NASA

​Lunar Orbiter 5 (1967-1968)

Launched on Aug. 1, 1967, Lunar Orbiter 5 was a vital preparation for Apollo landings, mapping 99 percent of the moon's surface before concluding its mission on Jan. 31, 1968.

Credit: NASA

​Surveyor Program (1966-1968)

​NASA's Surveyor program, with seven unmanned spacecraft, softly landed on the moon, gathering data on soil mechanics and thermal features, essential for upcoming crewed missions.

Credit: NASA

Apollo 17 (1972)

​Apollo 17, the last Apollo mission and human lunar visit, set records for duration and samples. The astronauts conducted geology studies, installed equipment, and captured moon's surface images.

Credit: ISRO

Chandrayaan 1 (2008-2009)

Chandrayaan-1, India's first lunar mission, detected water molecules on the moon's surface, expanding knowledge of lunar composition and advancing space exploration endeavours.

Credit: NASA

Chandrayaan-2 (2019)

​India's lunar mission involved an orbiter, Vikram lander, and Pragyan rover to explore the moon's south pole. Despite the mission’s failure due to a software glitch, the orbiter yielded valuable insights.

Credit: NASA

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