If you’d been a betting person from the mid 1950’s to 1960’s, you would have probably thought the Soviet Union had a very good chance of beating the USA in the race to the moon. After all, It was the Soviet Union who stunned the world with the launch of Sputnik, the first satellite ever.
On October 4, 1957, the USSR put into orbit a tiny sphere with a radio transmitter that beeped its way into history. It seemed they had a head start, so why didn’t the Soviet Union beat the USA to the moon? Click NEXT to find out what went wrong for the Soviets.
History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world’s first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball (58 cm.or 22.8 inches in diameter), weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path.
That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the space race between the Soviets and the US.
After Sputnik, the Soviets successfully launched Luna 3 in 1959 as part of the Luna program. It was the first-ever mission to photograph the far side of the Moon and the third Soviet space probe to be sent to the neighborhood of the Moon.
Though it returned rather poor pictures by later standards, the historic, never-before-seen views of the far side of the Moon caused excitement and interest when they were published around the world.