The Tough Road Travelled – A New Look at the Second Generation Luna Probes


A. Siddiqi; B. Hendrickx; T. Varfolomeyev (2000), JBIS53, 319-356

Refcode: 2000.53.319
Keywords: Space history, Soviet technology, lunar exploration, space policy, robotics.

Between January 1963 and April 1968 the Soviet Union launched 20 robotic probes as part of its “second generation” lunar exploration programme. The main purpose of this programme was to perform the first ever soft landing on the lunar surface and to place the first probes into lunar orbit. Both goals were accomplished after numerous failures. This article is an attempt to chronicle an amazing story of perseverance that gave the Soviet space programme some of its most notable successes during the 1960s.